An instructor at the College of the North Atlantic in St. John's has been arrested in the United States in connection with a scam in which more than 500 people were ripped off.

Peter Omagbemi, 43, had been teaching mechanical engineering technology at the college's Ridge Road campus in St. John's.

Since 2009, however, Omagbemi had been a fugitive from American justice.

A statement issued by the FBI in Los Angeles said Omagbemi was arrested last week when he crossed the Canadian border and entered Maine.

The FBI said Omagbemi had been charged in 2009 on a 17-count indictment over mail and wire fraud.

The FBI statement alleges that Omagbemi had owned a company called Glotem Enterprises and that he and others used various types of scams.

"The indictment alleges that potential victims were falsely told that they had won money in a lottery, sweepstakes, or through a class-action lawsuit and that, in order to obtain their winnings, they would have to send funds via MoneyGram to pay for 'taxes or fees' and other purported expenses," the FBI said.

"The indictment alleges that Omagbemi and others employed alternate fraud schemes, including the so-called 'mystery shopper' scheme, as well as one in which victims were told that their credit rating could be improved by paying a 'processing fee,' " the FBI said.

"Some of the victims were solicited multiple times and sent money more than once."

The FBI said most of the scam's victims live in southern California.

The FBI identified Omagbemi as being from Halifax.

The RCMP took part in the investigation that led to Omagbeni's arrest.

Omagbemi has been denied bail. His case will be prosecuted in Los Angeles.