Two Nigerian brothers accused of driving an American teen to suicide over a sextortion plot have pleaded not guilty in federal court.
Samuel Ogoshi, 22, and Samson Ogoshi, 20, were arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Marquette. The brothers were extradited to the US earlier this year after being charged by US prosecutors with impersonating a woman and tricking 17-year-old Jordan DeMay into sending explicit photos.
The men allegedly blackmailed DeMay in March 2022, telling him they would send his nude photos to his friends and family if he didn’t send them $1,000. DeMay committed suicide just six hours after he was first approached by the Ogoshis and a third man whose extradition is still pending.
Both Ogoshis are charged with conspiracy to sexually exploit minors, distribution of child pornography and stalking. Samuel Ogoshi is also charged with sexually exploiting a minor resulting in death and faces a minimum prison sentence of 30 years if convicted.
US Attorney Mark Totten said in a press release that the brothers had pleaded not guilty to all charges at their trial on Thursday. They are expected back in court on August 23 for a detention hearing.
The Ogoshi brothers and Ezekiel Ejehem Robert allegedly convinced DeMay to send the explicit photos and then blackmailed him for $1,000.
“I have a screenshot of all your followers and tags can send these nudes to everyone and also send your nudes to your family and friends until it goes viral… All you have to do is work with me and I will don’t expose you,” Samuel Ogoshi is said to have written.
In a series of texts encouraging DeMay to commit suicide after paying just $300, Samuel Ogoshi reportedly replied, “Good / Do that soon / Or I’ll let you do it.”
In May, the FBI issued a national security alert to warn parents after a tenfold increase in online sexual blackmail cases. According to the agency, by 2022, 3,000 children were victims of sextortion plots linked to more than a dozen suicides.
“These crimes have had devastating effects on children and their families,” Sean Ragan, acting FBI special agent in San Francisco, said in the statement.