For years now, foreign organized crime groups have been hitting licks through email, duping folks into wiring large amounts of money into sham accounts. Due to this lick, Nigerians have been stereotyped as scammers by many. However, as time has progressed, the scamming has gotten more sophisticated. Grammar has improved and specific businesses have been targeted, using language specific to the company’s endeavors. However, this type of scamming can result in serious penalties for offenders if they are caught. Amechi Colvis Amuegbunam, 28, of Lagos, Nigeria, faces these harsh penalties, after bring caught swindling 17 North Texas companies out of more than $600,000.
He is accused of sending emails that looked like forwarded messages from top company executives to employees who had the authority to wire money. Amuegbunam tricked the employees into wiring him money by transposing a couple of letters in the actual company email, authorities said…
The Dallas investigation began in 2013 when two North Texas companies reported falling victim to the scheme, each losing about $100,000, according to an FBI 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. For example, someone created the email with a domain name of lumniant.com.
The duped employee wired $98,550 to a bank account outside Texas.
The feds traced the emails back to a person named Colvis Amue, an alias Amuegbunam used. They were able to link him to other emails and wires. If convicted, he faces 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Five other individuals living in Nigeria are also being investigated.
Earlier this year, the FBI released an alert about this type of crime called the “Business Email Compromise.” They say that more than 7,000 companies have been finessed for $740 million. The Morning News details further:
In these scams, “money mules” are employed to accept the initial transfers into their personal bank accounts. They then are told to quickly transfer the money elsewhere, usually to a bank account outside the U.S. The money usually ends up in Asian banks, including those in China and Hong Kong, the FBI alert said.
The criminals have become experts at imitating invoices and accounts, agents say. The fraudulent emails are typically well worded and specific to the type of business being targeted, the FBI says. The phrases, “code to admin expenses” and “urgent wire transfer,” are frequently used…
The FBI said criminal groups usually target businesses that have foreign suppliers or regularly make wire transfer payments.