BY OWOLOLA ADEBOLA
The American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) for offering assistance to it in the investigation and prosecution of six Nigerians involved in Business Email Compromise( BEC) and wire fraud in the United States of America.
United States Attorney, Joe Kelly and Special FBI Agent, Kristi Johnson, in a release made available to the EFCC, commended the Commission for its “ past and continued assistance in pursuing those that engage in Business Email Compromise and other fraud schemes”
Six Nigerians: Richard Izuchukwu Uzuh; Alex Afolabi Ogunshakin; Michael Olorunyomi; Felix Osilama Okpoh, Abiola Ayorinde Kayode and Nnamdi Orson Benson were indicted and sanctioned by the FBI for conducting elaborate fraud schemes involving alleged stealing of more than $6million from “individual victims and victim businesses both in Nebraska and other states”.
BECs are sophisticated cyber crimes involving electronic transfer payments or automated clearing house transfers. The six Nigerians indicted by the FBI are accused of “violations of federal laws: 1) Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud , punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000; 2) Identity theft and access device fraud, each punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000”.
The FBI described the EFCC as one of its “foreign colleagues abroad” and expressed appreciation for its “ commitment to working together”. It would be recalled that the EFCC and FBI were involved in a joint field operation against cyber criminals in Nigeria in 2019 which yielded significant dividends.
The operation , codenamed “Operation Rewired”, was a hit against trans-Atlantic syndicates of cyber criminals operating in intricate, sophisticated networks. 167 Nigerian suspected cybercriminals were arrested and a total sum of $169,850( One Hundred and Sixty Nine Thousand, Eight Hundred and Fifty United States Dollars) and N92,000,000( Ninety-Two Million Naira only) were recovered from the suspects. The FBI also presented certificates to operatives of the EFCC that took part in the joint operation.