A Nigerian national residing in South Africa last week pleaded guilty in court in the United States to his role in a million-dollar business email compromise (BEC) fraud scheme.
The man, Kosi Goodness Simon-Ebo, 29, was extradited to the US from Canada in April 2023.
According to the plea agreement and other court documents, Simon-Ebo was involved in a conspiracy to commit BEC fraud and money laundering with total intended losses of close to $7 million.
Simon-Ebo admitted in court to gaining unauthorized access to the email accounts of targeted individuals and organizations and to sending email messages from spoofed accounts, to trick victims into making money wire transfers to bank accounts controlled by Simon-Ebo and his co-conspirators.
Between February 2017 and at least July 2017, the defendant admitted, he and his accomplices also conspired to commit money laundering by distributing the funds sent by the victims to other accounts they controlled.
The perpetrators also conspired to withdraw the money from those accounts, obtain cashier’s checks, and write checks to other entities, to hide the source of the funds.
According to the plea agreement, the intended losses for the fraudulent transactions the defendant was directly involved in were of close to $7 million. The actual loss from the scheme, however, was of just over $1 million.
Simon-Ebo admitted to having direct control of more than $45,000 of the funds fraudulently obtained from the victims.
Per the plea agreement, “Simon-Ebo will be required to pay a money judgment in the amount of $45,925 and pay restitution in the full amount of the victims’ losses, which the parties agree is at least $1,072,306,” the Department of Justice announced.
Simon-Ebo is scheduled for sentencing on November 29. He faces up to 20 years in prison for his involvement in wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.