Interpol arrests Nigerian accused in $60 million cybercrime

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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

details.
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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