Nigerian accused in global cyber-crime ring dies in Pearl River County jail

Video: Cyber-financial fraud investigations lead to arrests in South Africa, Canada, US

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GULFPORT -- One of the nine Nigerians arrested in South Africa in a global cyber-crime ring has died in custody at the Pearl River County jail.

Sesan Olumide Farin, 41, was playing basketball at the jail Friday when he collapsed, Pearl River County coroner Derek Turnage said Thursday. An autopsy, he said, showed Farin suffered from heart disease and died of natural causes.

Farin was arrested in South Africa in May 2014 after a Biloxi woman reported a scam that resulted in an international investigation of assorted scams, identity theft and the takeover of financial accounts.

Court papers say Farin was stealing the identities of others to set up fraudulent credit card accounts that he used to buy shipping labels for his co-conspirators to send to victims. The victims were reportedly asked to ship electronic devices, all purchased with illegally obtained money, to South Africa, where the various smartphones, laptops and tablets were sold for profit. Many who shipped the packages reportedly did so using counterfeit checks.

A federal grand jury indicted Farin on two conspiracy charges involving fraud and one count of money laundering.

A trial in the case is set to begin in August.

Homeland Security Investigations in Gulfport launched the investigation in 2011, which led to the indictments of 20 people.

Various agencies assisted in the investigation, including Interpol and the South African Police Service.

A South African law enforcement officer bought one of the smartphones shipped by one of the suspects in 2013, records show.

Farin is the second federal inmate to die in custody this year.

George Sullivan Jr., 43, died in custody July 4 in the Stone County jail. He was one of five accused in the theft and sale of firearms from a Saucier pawn shop. Officials said Sullivan had health problems and died of natural causes.