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Nigerian Extradited to U.S. Over Role in Major Cybercrime Scheme

by on December 10, 2019
 

A Nigerian citizen was extradited to the United States on charges related to his role in a major cybercrime scheme that involved business email compromise (BEC) attacks.

The man, Babatunde Martins, 64, a resident of Accra, Ghana, will stand trial for wire fraud, money laundering, computer fraud, and aggravated identity theft, the United States Department of Justice announced.

Martins and others were indicted in August 23, 2017, for participating in a conspiracy to hack the servers and email systems of a Memphis-based real estate company in June and July 2016.

The cybercrooks used sophisticated anonymization techniques, such as spoofed email addresses and virtual private networks, to identify large financial transactions and start fraudulent email correspondence with business parties and divert funds to accounts they controlled.

A network of U.S.-based money mules was employed to redirect proceeds to final destinations in Africa.

As part of this BEC scheme, the cybercriminals caused losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars to companies and individuals in Memphis.

The indictment also alleges that the defendant engaged in romance scams, fraudulent check scams, gold-buying scams, advance-fee scams and credit card scams.

Martins allegedly employed various Internet scams to recruit a network of both complicit and unwitting individuals to ship and transfer the proceeds of these criminal activities, both money and goods, from the United States to locations in Africa.

The indictment also charges Martins with owning and operating a company called Afriocean LTD that he used to perpetrate these crimes.

Overall, the defendant and his co-conspirators are believed to have caused millions in losses to victims across the globe.

Five others have pleaded guilty to their involvement in the scheme. Two of them, Olufalojimi Abegunde and Javier Luis Ramos-Alonso, have been sentenced to 78 months and 31 months in prison, respectively.

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