Interpol arrests Nigerian accused in $60 million cybercrime
A Nigerian accused of scamming $60 million from companies around the world
through fraudulent emails has been arrested after months of investigation,
Interpol and Nigeria's anti-fraud agency said Monday.
One target paid out $15.4 million, according to a statement from Interpol.
The ringleader of a global scamming network, identified only as a
40-year-old known as Mike, was arrested along with a 38-year-old
accomplice in Nigeria's oil capital, Port Harcourt, in June, said the
statement. He is on administrative bail, which implies that officers do
not yet have enough evidence to charge him in court.
The man is accused of leading a criminal network that compromised email
accounts of small and medium-sized businesses around the world including
in the United States, Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Romania, South
Africa and Thailand. The statement didn't name any of the targets.
The network involved about 40 people in Nigeria, Malaysia and South Africa
who provided malware and carried out the frauds, with money-laundering
contacts in China, Europe and the United States providing bank account
A supplier's email would be compromised and fake messages sent to a buyer
with instructions for payment to a bank account under the network's
control, the statement said. Or the email account of a high-level
executive would be taken over and a request for a wire transfer sent to an
employee responsible for handling such requests.
Such crime “poses a significant and growing threat, with tens of thousands
of companies victimized in recent years,” Noboru Nakatani, executive
director of the Interpol Global Complex for Innovation, said in a
statement. “The public, and especially businesses, need to be alert to
this type of cyber-enabled fraud.”
Nigeria is notorious for internet fraud. The U.S. Embassy says it receives
inquiries every day from Americans who have been defrauded.
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