$30 Million Fraud: Chidozie Collins Obasi Indicted, Wanted By FBI

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has declared a Nigerian-based fraudster, Chidozie Collins Obasi, wanted for defrauding the New York Government out of more than $30 million. $30 million. 

According to a statement from the U.S Attorney’s Office, the United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Chidozie Collins Obasi, 29, was charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud, and 16 counts of wire fraud.

All these stemmed from a complicated, evolving fraud scheme that initially targeted Americans through a spam email campaign offering illegitimate “work from home” jobs, and then during the COVID-19 pandemic shifted to targeting U.S. hospitals and medical systems by offering non-existent ventilators for sale beginning in March 2020

The scam finally shifted again in June 2020 to using stolen identity information of American citizens to apply for and obtain Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EID Loans”).


READ ALSO: EFCC Arrests Seven For Suspected Internet Fraud In Benin


The indictment alleges that Obasi perpetrated this fraud from Nigeria, with the help of co-conspirators in Canada and elsewhere. The defendant and his co-conspirators are alleged to have obtained more than $31,000,000 through this multi-faceted fraud scheme, with the overwhelming majority of that money – more than $30 million – coming from the State of New York for the intended purchase of ventilators.

The scheme alleged in the indictment began in September 2018, with a spam email campaign that offered phony “work from home” jobs.

When a person responded to the phony job offer, Obasi or a co-conspirator posed as a representative of a legitimate company, often a supposed medical equipment supplier based outside the United States, and offered the person a job as the company’s U.S. representative with responsibilities including collecting on outstanding invoices.

A co-conspirator in Canada then sent the new “employee” counterfeit checks purportedly from customers of the company, and the new “employee” deposited the checks, took a commission, and wired the rest of the money to a foreign bank account ostensibly owned by the fake company.

As alleged in the Indictment, Obasi and his co-conspirators obtained more than $1 million in this manner.

The Indictment further alleges that in approximately March 2020, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and ventilators were in high demand, Obasi posed as a representative of an Indonesian-based medical supply company offering ventilators for sale, and claimed to have a large stockpile of ventilators manufactured by a German company whose headquarters was in Telford, PA.

The defendant allegedly convinced a medical equipment broker in the U.S. to broker sales of these non-existent ventilators, and ultimately deceived the State of New York into wiring more than $30 million for the purchase of ventilators that did not exist. Obasi continued to target other potential customers with this same scam, including hospitals.

Later, in approximately June 2020, the Indictment alleges that Obasi and his co-conspirators took advantage of the EID Loan program by using stolen identities of U.S. citizens to apply for and obtain more than $135,000 in EID Loan proceeds.

Obasi is presently a fugitive, and the United States is seeking to locate and arrest him. The FBI has urged anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts to contact their local office.

If caught and convicted, Obasi faces a maximum sentence of 621 years in prison, a five-year period of supervised release, and a $5,750,000 fine. Obasi also will be required to make full restitution of the more than $31,000,000 that he obtained by fraud.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. Lowe.

An Indictment, Information, or Criminal Complaint is an accusation and every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Trump Demands FBI-Seized Materials Get Independent Vetting

In this file photo taken on December 7, 2020 -ex-US President Donald Trump looks on during a ceremony presenting the Presidential Medal of Freedom to wrestler Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC. Former president Donald Trump will not testify in his Senate impeachment trial next week, an advisor said on February 4,

 

 

Former US president Donald Trump filed a lawsuit Monday urging a court to name an independent party to screen files that the FBI seized from his Florida home for materials protected by personal privilege.

Claiming in a court filing that he had been targeted for political reasons, Trump demanded that a “special master” be named to review the more than two dozen boxes of files taken in the unprecedented August 8 raid.

The special master — who would not act at the direction of the Justice Department, which ordered the raid — would evaluate the documents and determine which ones Trump could retain as “privileged,” or protected from use in investigations.

“The Mar-a-Lago break-in, search and seizure was illegal and unconstitutional, and we are taking all actions necessary to get the documents back,” Trump said in a statement.

“They took documents covered by attorney-client and executive privilege,” he added.

The FBI warrant indicated that Trump was suspected of illegally taking highly classified documents and official records of his administration from the White House that he did not have the right to possess and had refused to turn over.

Besides potentially violating laws governing highly sensitive records, the department indicated the materials were also important in unspecified ongoing federal investigations.

Investigations that could involve the former president include the broad probe into the January 6, 2021 attack on Congress by Trump supporters, and an overlapping investigation into efforts by his backers to tamper with the 2020 presidential election.

Naming a special master could potentially block investigators’ access to the documents, especially if he or she accepts Trump’s claims that most were privileged.

In addition, it could interfere if the Justice Department is considering charging Trump with obstructing their investigations by refusing to hand over the documents.

The lawsuit was not filed in the federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where the original warrant was issued, but in more distant Fort Pierce, where the sole judge is a Trump appointee.

In the lawsuit Trump suggested the FBI raid was politically motivated.

“The government has long treated president Donald J. Trump unfairly,” it said.

Trump “is the clear frontrunner in the 2024 Republican Presidential Primary and in the 2024 General Election, should he decide to run,” it said.

Law enforcement “cannot be used as a weapon for political purposes,” it added.

EFCC Extradites FBI Wanted Suspect To US Over Alleged $3.5m Fraud

A file photo of the suspect extradited by the EFCC.

 

A wire fraud suspect, Fatade Olamilekan, has been extradited to the United States for allegedly stealing over $3.5 million worth of equipment in various cities across the country.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday, five days after the suspect was extradited to answer for the alleged crime.

Olamilekan, it stated, has since been declared wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

“His extradition was coordinated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, following a notice from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI New York, through the US Legal Attache for his role in impersonating various cities, state, and academic institutions across the United States,” the anti-graft agency said in the statement.

“Fatade was indicted by a grand jury in the Southern District of New York for offences of wire fraud, interstate transportation of stolen property and identity theft.”

The suspect was arrested by operatives of the EFCC on September 30, 2021, and his extradition trial commenced sometime in November 2021 before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.

On May 1, the judge granted the request to extradite the suspect to the United States to answer the criminal charges against him.

Upon his arrival in the United States, the suspect is billed to appear before a United States District Court.

 

Oil Bunkering

Elsewhere, the anti-graft agency said its operatives attached to the Port Harcourt Zonal Command have arrested 24 persons in connection with suspicious illegal oil bunkering.

“They were arrested on Monday, July 18, 2022, at Abonima wharf area, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where suspected illegally refined petroleum products, ferried across rivers are offloaded and trans-loaded into vehicles and trucks for distribution within Rivers state and other states,” it said.

The suspects were identified as Biokpor Kparango, Peace Udofia, Williams Niyabe, Sufiyanu Sale, Ibinabo Sila, Precious Christopher, God is Great Anna, Api Eli, Sabath Orubo, Life Sunday, Paul West, and Obi Omini.

Others are Lucky Akaluogbo, Victor Chibuzor, Omole Oluwa Muyiwa, Darlington Michael, Uche Nwankwo Onyinyechi Anayo, Emem Udofot, Mary Isaiah, Emabong Udoh, Confidence Sotonye, Ukoren Friday and Kingsley Edem.

The suspects, the EFCC said, were arrested based on credible intelligence on their alleged illegal oil bunkering operations.

“In the course of the arrest, a large quantity of products stored in large tanks and drums were discovered but could not be evacuated for security reasons,” it added. “However, a Volkswagen Passat car with registration number ABM 146 RR Rivers was recovered.

“The arrest of the suspects was met with stiff resistance with officers of the EFCC attacked with dangerous weapons, with the rear windscreen of one of the commission’s buses used for the operation damaged.”

Cybercrime: Pastor On FBI-Wanted List Docked In Enugu

 

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Enugu Command on Friday June 3, 2022 arraigned one Pastor Kelechi Vitalis Anozie.

Anozie was arraigned alongside three others who are currently at large, including (Mr. Azubuike Ifeanyi Bright, Mrs. Amarachi Blessing Iro and Mr. Kelechi Patrick Iro).

They were brought before Justice I.M Buba of the Federal High Court sitting in Enugu on a seven count charge bordering on money laundering.

Anozie who is on the America Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Wanted List, was arrested by the Enugu Command of the EFCC at Owerri on March 10, 2022 following actionable intelligence received by the Commission.

The defendant is alleged to have defrauded one F.F who lives in Illinois the sum of $135,800, and $47,000 from another American based in North Carolina.


READ ALSO: Wire Fraud: EFCC Arrests Church Founder Wanted By FBI In Enugu


One of the counts reads:

That you PASTOR KELECHI VITALIS ANOZIE,MR AZUBUIKE IFEANYI BRIGHT( NOW AT LARGE), MRS AMARACHI BLESSING IRI (NOW AT LARGE) AND MR KELECHI PATRICK IRO (NOW AT LARGE) sometime between 2017 and 2019, at Owerri within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria conspired among yourselves to commit a felony to wit: use and taking possession of fund that forms part of proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 21 (a) of the Money Laundering,(Prohibition) Act,2022 and Punishable under section 18(3) of the same Act.

Anozie pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him.

This prompted the prosecution counsel, Michael Ani, to ask the Court for a date for the commencement of trial. The defendant’s counsel, E. Adams prayed the court to grant his client bail.


READ ALSO: EFCC Arrests Suspect On FBI Wanted-List In Enugu


The defendant was granted bail in the sum of N10, 000,000 (Ten Million Naira) and one surety in like sum. The surety must be resident within the jurisdiction and own a property. He must also swear to an affidavit of means.

The defendant is to deposit his international passport and passport photographs with the court.

The case was adjourned until Friday June 10,2022 for trial

EFCC Arrests Suspect On FBI Wanted-List In Enugu

Emmanuel Dike Chidiebere,

 

The Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested Emmanuel Dike Chidiebere, a suspect on the watch list of the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for conspiracy, wire fraud and money laundering.

Acting on verified intelligence, operatives of the Commission on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, tracked the suspect to Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State where he was arrested.

Chidiebere is alleged to have defrauded some victims in America, Cote D’Ivoire and Poland of some undisclosed amount of money and went underground.

Three of his accomplices are still at large.

Read Also: [VIDEO] Survivors Of Abuja-Kaduna Train Attack Narrate How They Were Shot At

The suspect’s arrest comes few weeks after the EFCC apprehended two other individuals on the FBI’s wanted-list.

Osondu Igwilo and Kelechi Vitalis Anozie, were apprehended in Lagos and Enugu respectively, they had been on the watchlist of the FBI for a few years now.

EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, revealed that fifty-two-year-old Igwilo, who is the alleged leader of a criminal network of ‘catchers’, was arrested at a studio in the Sangotedo area of Lagos for alleged fraud, money laundering, and identity theft to the tune of about $100 million.

“Before their arrest, Igwilo and his accomplices had allegedly been involved in an advance-fee scheme that involved false promises of investment funding by individuals who impersonated some United States of America (USA) bank officials in person and via the internet,” Uwujaren said in the statement.

“Investigation revealed that those who fell victims of the suspects’ criminal activities were asked to make certain payments before they could receive their funding.

“It was also revealed that proceeds of the scheme were allegedly laundered through U.S. bank accounts and diverted back to the alleged perpetrators in Nigeria.”

Igwilo, the EFCC spokesman stated, was consequently placed on the FBI watchlist following a criminal complaint filed against him at the U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas in December 2016.

He added that the anti-graft agency’s operatives recovered five houses located in choice areas of Lagos from Igwilo following the arrest.

In Anozie’s case, the EFCC disclosed that suspected fraudster has been wanted since 2019.

Uwujaren said operatives arrested Anozie on the 10th of March, following an investigative trail of activities not unconnected to fraud and illegal money laundering.

Anozie, who is a self-professed clergyman and four other suspects: Valentine Iro, Ekene Ekechukwu (alias Ogedi Power), Bright Azubuike (alias Bright Bauer Azubuike), and Ifeanyi Junior, is alleged to have defrauded one F.F, who lives in Illinois, United States, the sum of $135,800 and another $47,000.

The suspect, who is the founder of a church called Praying City Church in Owerri, Imo State, was first placed on a watch list in 2019 when the FBI announced charges against 80 people, most of them Nigerians, in a wide-ranging fraud and money laundering operation that netted millions of dollars from victims of internet con jobs.

Cybercrime: Fake America Contractor Bags Six Months Imprisonment In Kwara

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud
A court gavel.

 

Justice Muhammed Sani of the Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin on Thursday sentenced 24-year-old Taiwo Oluwapelumi Emmanuel from Ibadan, Oyo State, to six months’ imprisonment for a one-count charge bordering on impersonation.

Emmanuel allegedly posed as a citizen of the United States of America to defraud unsuspecting victims.

The defendant was among the suspected internet fraudsters arrested in the Ogbomosho area of Oyo State on October 26, 2021, during a sting operation by the Ilorin Zonal Command of the EFCC.

The defendant in his various chats claimed to be a contractor and businessman based in the United States of America, a decoy which he employed to swindle his victims.

READ ALSO: [Wire Fraud] EFCC Arrests Church Founder Wanted By FBI In Enugu

In a similar vein, officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Enugu arrested Kelechi Vitalis Anozie, a suspected fraudster who has been a person of interest to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) since 2019.

The EFCC in a statement on Thursday said its operatives arrested Anozie on the 10th of March, following an investigative trail of activities not unconnected to fraud and illegal money laundering.

Anozie, who is a self-professed clergyman and four other suspects: Valentine Iro, Ekene Ekechukwu (alias Ogedi Power), Bright Azubuike (alias Bright Bauer Azubuike), and Ifeanyi Junior, is alleged to have defrauded one F.F, who lives in Illinois, United States, the sum of $135,800 and another $47,000.

The suspect, who is the founder of a church called Praying City Church in Owerri, Imo State, was first placed on a watch list in 2019 when the FBI announced charges against 80 people, most of them Nigerians, in a wide-ranging fraud and money laundering operation that netted millions of dollars from victims of internet con jobs.

FBI Indictment: No Formal Extradition Request For Abba Kyari, Says IGP

A photo combination of the Inspector General of Nigeria, Usman Alkali Baba and the embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari.

 

The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, says he is yet to see or receive a formal extradition request for Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Mr Abba Kyari following his indictment by a US Court.

Kyari had earlier in the year been accused of being a conspirator in a 1.1-million-dollar fraud deal involving Instagram celebrity Ramon Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.

Giving an update on the case, IGP Alkali Baba disclosed on Thursday that he had only heard it on social media, stressing that there was no extradition request as some have reported.

The Inspector General further explained that the panel constituted to investigate the case has submitted its report to the Secretary General of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha for vetting and advice on the findings.

He added that the Force has only just received feedback from the SGF and is contemplating the next step to take.

The police chief’s comment is the latest on the controversial issue in spite of a warrant issued by a US magistrate judge, Otis Wright, ordering the arrest of Kyari.

About a month ago, Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammadu Maigari Dingyadi while affirming that investigations have been concluded and findings submitted, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari will have the final consideration on the matter.


[READ ALSO]

FBI Indictment: Police Commission Suspends Abba Kyari

Coalition Of Northern Groups Demand Review Of Kyari’s Suspension

Court Rejects Group’s Petition To Stop Extradition Of Abba Kyari


 

Fashion funds? 

A photo combination of a deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari and alleged fraudster, Ramon Abbas, aka, Hushpuppi.
A photo combination of a deputy commissioner of police, Abba Kyari, and alleged fraudster, Ramon Abbas, aka, Hushpuppi.

 

Earlier in the year, a US court document suggested that Nigerian socialite Hushpuppi bribed the super cop to arrest and jail a certain Chibuzo Vincent, an estranged ‘co-conspirator,’ in a $1.1 million fraud case.

The document also revealed that Hushpuppi, who had been arrested in Dubai and handed over to US authorities, pleaded guilty to the multi-million-dollar fraud charges filed against him by the US Government.

It further explained that the proceeds from the crime had been spent.

Reacting to the allegations against him, Abba Kyari denied the claims, saying that he collected money to help Hushpuppi sew some clothes. Kyari later stated that he acted as a debt collector for Hushpuppi in a Facebook post which has since been deleted.

The police had assured that a careful and expeditious review of recommendations by its committee would be undertaken by the Force Management Team and thereafter forwarded to appropriate quarters for necessary action(s).

While investigations continued, the embattled police officer was suspended and the IGP appointed Deputy Commissioner of Police, Tunji Disu, to replace Kyari as Head of the Police Intelligence Response Team (IRT).

Hate Crimes Rose Against Black, Asian Americans In 2020 – FBI

A Black Lives Matter protestor sits outside the US Capitol security perimeter during the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th US President on January 20, 2021, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC. (Allison dinner / AFP)

 

 

Reported hate crimes in the US, in particular targeting African Americans and Asian Americans, surged in 2020, according to statistics released Monday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In a year that saw huge Black Lives Matter protests which helped force a reckoning on racism, reports of hate crimes against Black Americans rose 40 percent, from 1,972 to 2,755, the data showed.

Meanwhile, attacks against Americans of Asian heritage surged 70 percent with 274 incidents in 2020 against 161 in 2019, seemingly confirming a trend reported by the community since the start of the Covid pandemic.

The statistics spotlight the urgent need for a comprehensive response, Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

The FBI though called for hasty conclusions not to be drawn, pointing out that over time, different levels of public participation could be behind the alarming data.

More than half of the reported offenses were intimidation. But 18 percent of the attacks were serious assaults and 22 homicides were motivated by hate.

The latter figure is lower than the 52 murders recorded in 2019, a year of mourning for the El Paso shooting on the border with Mexico which killed 23 victims, mostly Hispanics.

In the United States, “hate-motivated crime” usually refers to an act directed against a person because of certain characteristics of their identity.

This aggravating circumstance automatically results in a heavier sentence, but it is difficult to prove in court.

Coalition Of Northern Groups Demand Review Of Kyari’s Suspension

Mr Abba Kyari

 

The Coalition of Northern Groups has kicked against the suspension of the embattled Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Abba Kyari following his indictment by a US Court.

Spokesman of the Coalition – comprising civil society organisations and non-governmental bodies – Abdulazeez Sulaiman spoke on behalf of the groups at a news conference after its meeting in Kaduna state on Sunday.

He noted that both the Nigerian police authorities and the FBI breached Kyari ‘s fundamental rights by not allowing him to be heard before taking the hasty actions against him.

They have, therefore, demanded an immediate review of the suspension and have also asked that the ongoing investigation with the FBI be transferred to the Nigerian Intelligence Agency.

Mr Kyari was suspended by the Police Service Commission last Sunday following his indictment in the case of alleged fraud linked to popular socialite, Ramon Abbas, a.k.a Hushpuppi.

According to a statement by the commission’s Head of Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani, the suspension was conveyed in a letter signed by Justice Clara Bata Ogunbiyi, a retired justice of the Supreme Court.

It took effect from July 31, and would subsist pending the outcome of the investigation.

The commission also directed the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to furnish it with information on further developments on the matter for necessary further action.

According to documents unsealed over a week ago in the US, Mr Kyari had arrested and jailed one Chibuzo Vincent, at the behest of Hushpuppi.

He also allegedly sent Hushpuppi bank account details into which he (Hushpuppi) could deposit payment for Vincent’s arrest and imprisonment.

Mr Kyari, in a Facebook post on Thursday, however, denied the allegations.

Alleged dispute

On July 28, the US Department of Justice had announced that Hushpuppi had been involved “in an elaborate scheme to steal more than $1.1 million from a business person attempting to finance the construction of a school for children in Qatar.”

Six persons were indicted in the investigation.

In laundering the proceeds of the Qatar operation, a dispute broke out among members of the conspiracy, courts documents said.

The dispute allegedly prompted Vincent – one of the members, to contact the victim and inform them of the scam operation.

After this contact, Hushpuppi allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Kyari.

Kyari was also alleged to have provided third-party bank accounts to receive payment for the illegal arrest.

In his defence, he said Vincent had been arrested only because Hushpuppi claimed that he (Vincent) had seriously threatened to attack his family in Nigeria but he was eventually released on bail after no actual threats were discovered.

“Nobody demanded a kobo from Abbas Hushpuppi.

“Our focus was to save people’s lives that were purported to have been threatened,” Kyari said.”

ANOM: The App At The Heart Of The FBI’s Major Global Phone Sting

Law enforcement agencies from three continents on Tuesday revealed a vast FBI-led sting.

 

 

Law enforcement agencies from three continents on Tuesday revealed a vast FBI-led sting operation that sold thousands of supposedly encrypted mobile phones to criminal organisations and intercepted their messages for years.

Police accounts and unsealed US court documents, first cited by Vice News, reveal an ambitious worldwide plot that was years in the making.

What is ANOM?

ANOM was billed as a fully secure encrypted mobile phone that promised the user total secrecy in communications.

Essentially it was a jailbroken handset that used a modified operating system — removing any of the normal text, phone or GPS services that would make it trackable and traceable.

On the surface, the device would look like a normal mobile phone, but it contained a “secure” messaging service hidden behind a functioning calculator app.

In theory, the phone operated on a closed network — ANOM phones could only communicate with other ANOM phones using “military grade” encryption that transferred data via secure proxy servers.

The phones also contained a kill switch to delete contacts or any other data stored locally.

Similar services like Phantom Secure, Sky Global, Ciphr, and EncroChat have for years been used by criminal networks for planning and communication — and many have been exploited by law enforcement.

Where did the FBI come in?

In March 2018 Phantom Secure’s CEO Vincent Ramos was indicted by grand jury and along with colleagues would eventually plead guilty to a raft of charges related to drug trafficking.

Shortly after that, an unnamed “confidential human source” presented the FBI with a next-generation encrypted device — that would be dubbed ANOM — which was designed to replace discredited, defunct or infiltrated systems.

The same source agreed to disseminate the now FBI-compromised devices among a network of blackmarket distributors who had sold Phantom Secure to carefully vetted or vouched-for individuals, usually members of organised criminal gangs.

Why did criminals buy it?

Initially, 50 ANOM phones were distributed in a test run, mostly to members of Australian organised criminal gangs.

But through word of mouth they gained in popularity with criminal underworld figures, who reportedly recommended them to friends.

Interest in ANOM exploded in 2020 when European authorities rolled up EncroChat, with dozens arrested, and after Sky Global CEO Jean Francois Eap was detained.

In the end, the FBI, Australian authorities and an unnamed “third country” were able to access more than 20 million messages from 11,800 devices in 90 countries.

They were most popular in Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia and Serbia.

Why did the operation stop?

There is no clear rationale given about why the operation stopped now. However a mixture of suspicions, legal hurdles and strategy may have contributed.

Law enforcement did not have real-time access to phone activity but instead, all sent messages were blind copied or ‘BCCed’ to FBI servers where they were decrypted.

 

FBI saw devices with the ANOM app.

 

One server was in a third country where the warrant was due to expire on June 7, 2021.

But even ahead of that deadline, suspicions were being raised.

In March “canyouguess67” posted on WordPress that ANOM was a “scam” and that a device he had tested was “in constant contact with” Google servers and relayed data to non-secure servers in Australia and the United States.

“I was quite concerned to see the amount of IP addresses relating to many corporations within the 5 eyes Governments (Australia, USA, Canada, UK, NZ who share information with one another),” the post said before it was deleted.

In addition, one stated aim for “Operation Trojan Shield” was to undermine trust in encrypted devices, a goal that could only be widely achieved when the operation was made public.

Abidemi Rufai Indicted For Conspiracy, Wire Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft

 

 Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman has announced that Abidemi Rufai who was arrested May 14, 2021, at JFK Airport in New York, has now been indicted for conspiracy, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft for his scheme to steal over $350,000 in unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Department. 

Mr. Rufai, aka Sandy Tang, 42, remains detained at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, New York. Prosecutors have asked U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle to order Rufai detained and transported to the Western District of Washington for arraignment on the indictment.

Rufai is now charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, nine counts of wire fraud, and five counts of aggravated identity theft.

The indictment alleges that Rufai used the stolen identities of more than 100 Washington residents to file fraudulent claims with ESD for pandemic-related unemployment benefits.

Other indictments include that “Rufai also filed fraudulent unemployment claims with Hawaii, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania. Rufai used variations of a single e-mail address in a manner intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems. By using this practice, Rufai made it appear that each claim was connected with a different email account.

READ ALSO: Ogun Governor Suspends Aide Arrested For Alleged Fraud In US

“Rufai caused the fraud proceeds to be paid out to online payment accounts such as ‘Green Dot’ accounts, or wired to bank accounts controlled by “money mules.” Some of the proceeds were then mailed to the Jamaica, New York address of Rufai’s brother. Rufai was residing at his brother’s home during part of the period of the fraud. Law enforcement determined more than $288,000 was deposited into an American bank account controlled by Rufai between March and August 2020.”

Conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud are punishable by up to thirty years in prison when the offense relates to benefits paid in connection with a presidentially declared disaster or emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory minimum two-year sentence to run consecutive to any sentence imposed on the other counts of conviction.

The charges contained in the indictment are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG). The fraud on ESD is being investigated cooperatively by the FBI, DOL-OIG, Social Security Office of Inspector General, U.S. Secret Service, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations. The Washington Employment Security Department is cooperating in the investigation.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Seth Wilkinson, Cindy Chang, and Benjamin Diggs of the Western District of Washington, and Trial Attorney Jane Lee of DOJ’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS).

FBI Received 443 Internet Crime Complaints From Nigeria In 2020 – Report

In this file photo, a woman uses a laptop on April 3, 2019. ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP

 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) received a total of 443 internet crime complaints from Nigeria in 2020.

This was contained in the 2020 Internet Crime Report of the United States intelligence agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3) report published on Wednesday.

According to the report, Nigeria has the same number of complaints as Pakistan and ranks 16th ahead of China (442), Colombia (418), and Hong Kong (407) in a list of 20 countries.

The United Kingdom topped the list with 216,633 complaints and is followed by Canada (5,399), India (2,930), Greece (2,314), Australia (1,807), South Africa (1,754), and France (1,640).

Other countries are Germany (1,578), Mexico (1,164), Belgium (1,023), Brazil (951), the Philippines (898), Italy (728), Spain (618), and Netherlands (450).

While complaints from the U.S. were given a special focus and broken down according to the states, the report comprised information from 791,790 complaints of suspected internet crime.

The latest figure indicates an increase of more than 300,000 complaints from 2019 and losses exceeding $4.2 billion.

Phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams, as well as extortion, were the top-three crimes reported by victims in the year under review.

Similarly, victims lost the most money to business email compromise scams, romance and confidence schemes, as well as investment fraud.

Part of the text accompanying the report read,

Notably, 2020 saw the emergence of scams exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic. The IC3 received over 28,500 complaints related to COVID-19, with fraudsters targeting both businesses and individuals.

In addition to statistics, the IC3’s 2020 Internet Crime Report contains information about the most prevalent internet scams affecting the public and offers guidance for prevention and protection.

It also highlights the FBI’s work combating internet crime, including recent case examples.

Finally, the 2020 Internet Crime Report explains the IC3, its mission, and functions. The IC3 gives the public a reliable and convenient mechanism to report suspected internet crime to the FBI.

The FBI analyses and shares information from submitted complaints for investigative and intelligence purposes, for law enforcement, and for public awareness.

With the release of the 2020 Internet Crime Report, the FBI wants to remind the public to immediately report suspected criminal internet activity to the IC3 at ic3.gov.

By reporting internet crime, victims are not only alerting law enforcement to the activity but aiding in the overall fight against cybercrime.