Nigerian Man Pleads Guilty In Manhattan Federal Court To Participating In Business Email Compromise Scams

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that ONYEKACHI EMMANUEL OPARA pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty in Manhattan federal court to charges stemming from his participation in fraudulent business email compromise scams that targeted thousands of victims around the world, including the United States.  Collectively, the scams attempted to defraud victims of millions of dollars.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “Onyekachi Emmanuel Opara ran a global email scam business that victimized thousands of people out of millions of dollars.  And even though he operated his so-called ‘business’ in a country halfway around the world, our Office’s global reach ensures that he will serve time in the United States for his crimes.”

According to allegations in an Indictment and other documents filed in federal court, as well as statements made in public court proceedings:

Between 2014 and 2016, OPARA and co-conspirator David Chukwuneke Adindu participated in Business Email Compromise scams (“BEC scams”) targeting thousands of victims around the world, including in the United States.  As part of the BEC scams, fraudulent emails were sent to employees of various companies, purportedly from their supervisors or from third party vendors, directing that funds be transferred to specified bank accounts.  The fraudulent emails were sent from either email accounts with a domain name that was very similar to the legitimate domain name of the purported sender, or the metadata in the emails had been modified so that the emails appeared as if they were from legitimate email addresses belonging to the purported sender.  After victims complied with the fraudulent wiring instructions, the transferred funds were quickly withdrawn or moved into different bank accounts controlled by members of the scheme.  In total, the BEC scams attempted to defraud millions of dollars from victims.

OPARA and others carried out BEC scams by exchanging information regarding: (1) bank accounts used for receiving funds from victims; (2) email accounts for communicating with victims; (3) scripts for requesting wire transfers from victims; and (4) lists of names and email addresses for contacting and impersonating potential victims.

Categories: Community News, News
Tags: New York

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