Nigerian national crafts email compromise scheme to steal $1.5M, faces decades in prison

A Nigerian national has been convicted for performing a business email compromise scheme and attempting to steal $1.5 million from various victims in the US.

Ebuka Raphael Umeti, 35, and his co-conspirators emailed businesses posing as legitimate senders.

The perpetrators gained unauthorized access to victims' computer systems and email accounts. The accused even infected the victims’ systems with malware, allowing the cybercriminals to access these systems remotely.

These phishing attacks were carefully crafted to obtain sensitive information from victims' computers. This information was then used against the victims to deceive individuals at these businesses.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), businesses were fooled into making wire transfers to the cybercriminal’s accounts, which resulted in the loss or attempted loss of roughly $1.5 million.

Umeti has been convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to cause damage to a protected device, and causing intentional damage to a protected computer.

Umeti could face a penalty of 27 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, five years for conspiracy to cause intentional damage to a device, 20 years on each wire fraud count, and 10 years for damaging a protected computer.

The DOJ named Umeti’s co-conspirator, Franklin Ifeanyichukwu Okwonna, who also pleaded guilty to his part in the scheme.