US Court Jails Nigerian Student Over $3.7m Fraud

A Nigerian student living in the United States, Amechi Amuegbunam, has been sentenced to 46 months (3 years and 10 months) in prison for perpetrating fraud to the tune of $3.7m.

Amechi, 30, was also ordered to pay $615, 555.12 in restitution for his role in a sophisticated email scam otherwise known as Business Email Compromise that caused $3.7m loss to US companies.

The convict and other individuals were said to have,

between November 2013 and August 2015, sent fraudulent emails to companies in the Northern District of Texas and elsewhere containing misrepresentations that caused the companies to wire transfer funds as instructed on a PDF document that was attached to the email.

He was arrested in Baltimore in August 2015 and charged with scamming 17 North Texas companies out of more than $600,000 using the technique.

Amechi was accused of sending emails that looked like forwarded messages fro, company executives to employees who had the authority to wire money.

He tricked the employees into wiring him money by transposing a couple of letters in the firm email.

The Dallas investigation began in 2013 when two North Texas companies reported falling victim to the scheme, each losing about $100,000, according to the complaint.

In the case of Luminant Corp., an electric utility company in Dallas, an employee with the authority to wire money received an email from someone who appeared to be a company executive, the complaint said.

But the email domain name had two letters transposed.

The duped employee wired $98,550 to a bank account outside Texas.

The FBI subpoenaed information about the email account and learned it was created by someone named Colvis Amue, the complaint said.

In another case involving Amechi, a company accountant received an email from her chief executive, who was on vacation outside the country. He asked her to transfer money for a “time-sensitive acquisition” before the day’s end, according to the FBI.

The executive said a lawyer would contact her with more information.

The accountant said such requests were not unusual.

The lawyer sent her an email with her CEO’s signature on a letter of authorisation with the firm’s seal that was attached. The email gave her instructions to wire more than $737,000 to a bank in China.

The accountant learned about the scam when the CEO called the next day, saying he knew nothing about the wire transfer request.

FBI subsequently issued an alert about the new cyber attack it called “Business Email Compromise.” FBI said it’s a “growing fraud that is more sophisticated than any similar scam FBI has seen before.”

Following the conviction of Amechi, the FBI commended EFCC for helping to bring him to justice.

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