Nigerian entrepreneur, Obinwanne Okeke, the CEO of Invictus Group, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in a computer-based intrusion fraud scheme that caused approximately 11 million dollars in known losses to his victims.
Okeke, was arrested on August 6, 2019, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and later pleaded guilty to two charges of Internet fraud in the US, that caused huge financial losses to his victims. Obinwanne Okeke is believed to have defrauded American citizens through fraudulent wire transfer instructions in a massive, coordinated, business email compromise scheme.
The acting US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Raj Parekh said: “Through subterfuge and impersonation, Obinwanne Okeke engaged in a multi-year global business email and computer hacking scheme that caused a staggering 11 million dollars in losses to his victims”.
According to court documents, Obinwanne Okeke, operated a group of companies known as the Invictus Group based in Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia. From approximately 2015 to 2019, Okeke and some others engaged in a conspiracy to conduct various computer-based frauds. The conspirators obtained and compiled hundreds of victims’ credentials, including victims in the Eastern District of Virginia.
As part of the scheme, Okeke and other conspirators engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment.
In April 2018, a Unatrac executive fell prey to a phishing email that allowed conspirators to capture login credentials. The conspirators sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices. Okeke participated in the effort to victimize Unatrac, through fraudulent wire transfers totaling nearly 11 million dollars, which was transferred overseas.
Additionally, Okeke engaged in other forms of cyber fraud, including sending phishing emails to capture email credentials, creating fraudulent web pages, and causing other losses to numerous victims.
In a statement by Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, he warned the public against cyber fraud and made it known that the FBI will not rest until they bring such fraudsters to justice.
“The FBI will not allow cybercriminals free reign in the digital world to prey on US companies. This sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to working with our partners at the Department of Justice and our foreign counterparts to locate cybercriminals across the globe and bring them to the United States to be held accountable”.Brain Dugan
Obinwanne Okeke had investments in oil and gas, agriculture, private equity, alternative energy, telecom, and real estate, and operated his holdings under the Invictus Group.
Before being exposed as a fraud, the businessman was described as an inspiration to many Nigerian youths. He even won awards and gained recognition including being listed on Forbes Africa ’30 under 30′ in June 2016 and won Most Innovative Investment Company of the Year in May 2017 by the African Brand Congress.
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