A Nigerian national who allegedly ran a business email compromise (BEC) scam targeting victims in the United States has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty.
The accused fraudster, Ibraheem Five, was arrested in September 2019 at London’s Heathrow Airport on his way to Nigeria. He was extradited to the United States in November.
U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Andrew E. Lelling said Five’s case was only the second time a known BEC scammer ended up in prison in a U.S. court.
Uncovering the Scam
Five was part of a BEC scheme that targeted victims in the United States between March 2015 and June 2018. The scammers used phishing and other techniques to compromise email accounts and then tricked the victims into wiring large sums of money to overseas accounts.
Federal investigators identified Five and an unnamed co-conspirator as the main participants in the scam. They were able to identify bank accounts and other digital evidence, including phony invoices, false documents, and the creation of shell companies. The total fraudulent proceeds obtained by Five and his accomplice were estimated at $1.25 million.
Sentenced and Fined
On April 8, 2020, Five was sentenced to 18 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release and a $2,000 fine. He was also ordered to pay $1.25 million in restitution.
Lelling praised the efforts of the investigators involved in the case and urged members of the public to exercise caution when transferring large sums of money.
“Business email compromise is a global scourge that has cost companies large and small, in Massachusetts and beyond, millions of dollars,” Lelling said. “As this sentence makes clear, we are committed to punishing criminals who perpetrate these scams with the full force of the law.”
Call to Action
This case highlights just how devastating BEC scams can be. However, with the right measures in place such as multi-factor authentication and robust anti-phishing solutions, businesses can protect themselves and their customers from fraud. Share this article to help spread awareness.