Nigerian national convicted of running email scam campaign

A Nigerian national is facing up to 60 years in prison after a federal jury in New Haven, Connecticut, finds him guilty of running a global email compromise scheme.

Okechuckwu Valentine Osuji, 39, and his co-conspirators targeted specific individuals and businesses by masquerading as trustworthy entities to defraud their victims, court documents showed.

The gang employed unwitting and witting “money mules” to receive fraud proceeds in their bank accounts, which they would then transfer to accounts controlled by Osuji and his co-conspirators, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Numerous victims were defrauded during the years-long scheme, with losses and intended losses totaling $6.3 million. The scheme was run out of multiple countries, including the US and Malaysia.

“Osuji led a network of scammers in Malaysia and elsewhere in a sophisticated business email compromise scheme to defraud victims of millions of dollars,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri, head of the DoJ’s Criminal Division.

Osuji was arrested in Malaysia and extradited to the US in 2022. His alleged co-conspirator, John Wamuigah, remains in Malaysia and is pending extradition proceedings. Another co-conspirator, Tolulope Bodunde, pleaded guilty earlier in February.

“While it is often difficult to identify and bring to justice cybercriminals operating overseas, today’s verdict demonstrates the expertise of the FBI and Stamford Police in uncovering this criminal network,” said US Attorney Vanessa Roberts Avery for the District of Connecticut.

It also demonstrated “the shared commitment of our counterparts in Malaysia to ensure that fraudsters are held accountable in a court of law,” Avery said.

The ring is believed to have used the following emails to commit their crimes – with some addresses partially redacted to protect stolen identities:

The jury convicted Osiju of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Osiju faces a mandatory minimum of two years in prison and a maximum penalty of 60 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for July 24th.

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