Young Nigerian entrepreneur, Obinwanne Okeke, the Chief Executive of Invictus Group, who was charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for an $11 million internet fraud, has pleaded guilty to the charges. He agreed to the charges of a computer-based intrusion fraud scheme, which caused $11 million in losses to his victims, on Thursday, June 18, 2020.
This was disclosed in a publication by the US Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Virginia, Department of Justice and seen by Nairametrics.
According to the court documents, Obinwanne Okeke, 32, and his co-conspirators were involved in these acts from 2015 to 2019 through various computer-based frauds. The conspirators obtained and compiled credentials of hundreds of victims, including victims in the Eastern District of Virginia and some other places.
As part of the scheme, Okeke and others 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 became a victim of a phishing email that allowed conspirators to capture login credentials. The conspirators sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices. Okeke took part in the efforts against Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totalling nearly $11 million, which was transferred overseas.
The Invictus boss pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when the sentence will be given on October 22. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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Obinwanne Okeke, who had made it into Forbes Africa’s under 30 list in 2016, had initially denied committing any crime against American citizens or companies and, as such, questioned the jurisdiction of the court in US. Although they didn’t deny committing the crime, they did not want the prosecution to go on in US.
The FBI, had also in August last year, released a list that contained about 80 Nigerians, who were involved in money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit fraud amongst others.
It can also be recalled that just 2 days ago, the United States Department of State published the names of 6 Nigerians who had been charged for internet fraud of over $6 million against American citizens and businesses.