Security Experts:

Nigerian Admits in US Court to Hacking Payroll Company

A Nigerian national pleaded guilty in a U.S. court for his role in a scheme to hack into thousands of user accounts maintained by a payroll processing company, to steal payroll deposits.

The individual, Charles Onus, 34, was arrested in April 2021 in San Francisco, while traveling from Nigeria to the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges against him in June.

Onus, who has been in detention since his arrest, is accused of employing credential stuffing to access user accounts at the targeted company without authorization.

According to the indictment and documents presented in court, the scheme resulted in the compromise of more than 5,500 user accounts, which allowed the defendant to divert approximately $800,000 in payroll funds to prepaid debit cards, some of which were controlled by Onus.

Onus pleaded guilty to one count of computer fraud "for unauthorized access to a protected computer to further intended fraud" and faces up to five years in prison. Onus’ sentencing has been scheduled for May 12.

"Charles Onus admitted to participating in a scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of hard-earned dollars from workers across the United States by hacking into a payroll company’s system and diverting payroll deposits to prepaid debit cards he controlled," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

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