The U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Tuesday said it has take action against six Nigerian nationals for conducting an elaborate scheme to steal over six million dollars from victims across the United States.
Aside the arrest of the suspects, the assets in the US have also been seized by the authorities.
According to the Department, the six Nigerians targeted U.S. businesses and individuals through deceptive global threats known as business email compromise (BEC) and romance fraud.
Over $6 million was stolen in the fraud schemes which involve impersonation of business executives to request and received wire transfers from legitimate business accounts.
The accused also allegedly stole money from by romance fraud.
“The six individuals designated today manipulated their victims in order to gain access to usernames, passwords, and bank accounts in furtherance of the scheme. Several of those who engaged in romance fraud used online tools, including social media and email, to further their social engineering tactics.
The Department revealed how each of the Nigerian ‘Cyber Actors’ carried out their fraudulent schemes. See the names of the six suspects and how they individually carried out the alleged fraudulent schemes below
From at least early 2015 to September 2016, Uzuh and an accomplice sent emails to victims appearing as though they were coming from a company’s true business executive, and would request and receive wire transfers of funds from the businesses’ accounts. Uzuh would often target over 100 businesses in a single day. A loss in excess of $6,300,000 can be attributed to the BEC scheme led by Uzuh and an accomplice.
From September 2015 to June 2017, Olorunyomi and an accomplice led a scheme that victimized Americans through the use of romance fraud. Olorunyomi and his co-conspirators created fictitious profiles on dating websites and posed as individuals looking for love. He developed online relationships with victims to either obtain funds directly from victims, or used their bank accounts to funnel fraudulently obtained money. Losses exceeding $1,000,000 can be attributed to the romance fraud scheme led by Olorunyomi and his accomplice.
Ogunshakin conducted BEC and romance scams. Ogunshakin provided Uzuh and other co-conspirators with bank accounts that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers. Additionally, Ogunshakin assisted Uzuh with contacting victim companies and he conducted his own BEC schemes.
Okpoh conducted romance scams and engaged in money laundering, working closely with Uzuh and others involved in the scheme. Okpoh provided hundreds of U.S. bank accounts that were used to receive fraudulent wire transfers from victims of BEC and romance fraud.
Benson conducted romance scams and money laundering, working closely with Uzuh. Benson communicated with multiple romance fraud victims to obtain their bank account details, and provided the account information to Uzuh to receive fraudulent wire transfers from U.S. businesses.
Kayode conducted BEC and romance scams, working closely with Uzuh and others involved in the scheme. Kayode provided U.S. bank accounts to individuals involved in the scheme, one of which was then used to receive a $69,150 fraudulent wire transfer.
“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons that are in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within or transiting the United States are blocked, and U.S. persons generally are prohibited from dealing with them,” the US said of the sanction against the six Nigerians.