The Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control, in a coordinated action with the U.S. Department of Justice, on Tuesday, announced it had taken action against six Nigerian nationals for allegedly conducting an elaborate scheme to steal over six million dollars from vulnerable victims across the United States.
The department listed the accused as Richard Uzuh, Michael Olorunyomi, Alex Ogunshakin, Felix Okpoh, Nnamdi Benson, and Abiola Kayode.
The Nigerians targeted US businesses and individuals through deceptive global threats known as business email compromise (BEC) and romance fraud.
According to the State Department, American citizens lost over $6,000,000 due to these individuals’ BEC fraud schemes.
The Nigerians reportedly impersonated business executives, requested and received wire transfers from legitimate business accounts.
In a statement posted on the US Department of State's official website and titled, "U.S. Sanctions Nigerian Cyber Actors for Targeting U.S. Businesses and Individuals" the US dept said, “Technological advancements that provide greater interconnectivity also offer greater opportunity for exploitation by malicious actors who target at-risk Americans.
"Today, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control took action against six Nigerian nationals, pursuant to Executive Order 13694 as amended, for conducting an elaborate online scheme to steal more than $6 million from victims across the United States.
"The six individuals designated today manipulated their victims to gain access to their sensitive information and financial resources. The U.S. will not tolerate such gross misuse of technology.
" The United States will use all of the tools at our disposal to defend the American people and businesses from malign actors that seek to target them, including cyber-enabled actors who prey on vulnerable Americans and businesses."
“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons that are in the possession or control of U.S. persons or within or transiting the United States are blocked, and U.S. persons generally are prohibited from dealing with them.”