US Court jails Nigerian for Internet Fraud

A New York Court has jailed a Nigerian, Onyekachi Emmanuel Opara to five years imprisonment and ordered to pay $2.5 million after attempting to defraud victims of $25 million.

Opara and his accomplice, Adindu were accused and found guilty of perpetuating various scams targeted at thousands of people worldwide in an attempt to get over $25 million.

The court said the defendants targeted victims in countries like Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the US. and United Kingdom.

Geoffrey Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York said:

“From halfway around the world, Onyekachi Emmanuel Opara ran a global mail scam business that victimised thousands of people out of millions of dollars. The global reach of our office and the FBI ensured that Opara will serve time in the United States for his crimes.”

Opara pled guilty to the allegations which reads:

“The emails purported to be from supervisors at those companies or from third party vendors with whom the companies did business.  In reality, the emails were either sent from email accounts with domain names very similar to those of the companies and vendors, or the metadata for the emails was modified to make it appear as if the emails had been sent from legitimate email addresses.

“After victims transferred the funds as directed in the bogus emails, the funds were quickly withdrawn or transferred to other bank accounts controlled by scheme participants.  In total, the BEC scam participants attempted to steal more than $25 million from victims around the world.

“In furtherance of the BEC scams, Opara created accounts on dating websites and entered into online romantic relationships with individuals in the United States by portraying himself as a young attractive woman named ‘Barbara’. ‘Barbara’ would then instruct these individuals in the United States to send their money overseas and/or to receive money from BEC scams and forward the proceeds to other scheme participants located overseas.

“For example, one victim with whom Opara struck up a romantic relationship sent over $600,000 of the victim’s own money to bank accounts controlled by scheme participants at Opara’s direction. Opara also attempted to recruit at least 14 other individuals via dating websites to receive funds from BEC scams into their bank accounts and then transfer the proceeds to overseas bank accounts.”

Opara was arrested was arrested on December 22, 2016, in Johannesburg, South Africa, and extradited to New York on January 26, 2018.

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