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Nigerian Faces Prison in US After BEC Fraud Conviction

Nigerian national Ebuka Raphael Umeti was convicted in the US for operating a business email compromise (BEC) scheme.

A Nigerian national faces up to 27 in federal prison after being convicted in the US for operating a business email compromise (BEC) scheme.

According to court documents, the man, Ebuka Raphael Umeti, 35, sent phishing emails posing as a bank or vendor to gain unauthorized access to victims’ computers and email accounts.

Phishing emails sent by Umeti and his co-conspirators led to victims’ computers being infected with malware that provided the perpetrators with remote access, which they used to exfiltrate sensitive information.

The obtained information was then used to trick employees at victim organizations into making wire transfers to accounts provided by the perpetrators.

Umeti and his co-conspirators, court documents show, caused or intended to cause losses of more than $1.5 million to their victims.

A federal jury in Alexandria, Virginia, convicted Umeti of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to cause intentional damage to a computer, and intentional damage to a computer. He is scheduled for sentencing on August 27.

Umeti faces up to 27 years in prison for wire fraud conspiracy, 20 years for wire fraud, five years for conspiracy to cause damage to a computer, and 10 years for intentional damage to a computer.

A co-defendant, Franklin Ifeanyichukwu Okwonna, 34, who pleaded guilty for his role in the scheme on May 20, is scheduled for sentencing on September 3.

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“Umeti participated in a sophisticated computer hacking and business email compromise scheme that targeted numerous businesses in the United States. Although Umeti and his co-conspirators carried out their scheme from outside the United States, they were not beyond the reach of the Justice Department,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri.

Related: US Authorities Attempting to Recover $5.3 Million Stolen in BEC Scam

Related: Nigerian BEC Scammer Pleads Guilty in US Court

Related: Cybercriminals Spoof US Government Organizations in BEC, Phishing Attacks

Related: How Do We Know About New Phishing Attacks? Because Some Human Reported It.

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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