Nigerian Arrested in US for Hacking Payroll Services Company


A Nigerian national was arrested recently in the United States on charges related to hacking into user accounts at a payroll processing company, to steal payroll deposits.

The man, Charles Onus, 34, who was arrested in San Francisco on April 14, is accused of participating in a scheme that resulted in the compromise of approximately 5,500 user accounts at an unnamed human resources and payroll services company in the U.S.

In 2017 and 2018, Onus allegedly employed a credential stuffing attack to gain unauthorized access to user accounts at the targeted company.

According to the indictment, the unauthorized access allowed the man to divert roughly $800,000 in payroll funds to prepaid debit cards, including some he controlled.

Onus was charged with two counts of computer fraud, one count of receipt of stolen money, and one count of wire fraud, which carry maximum sentences between five and twenty years in prison, as well as one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison (served consecutively to any other sentence imposed).

“Charles Onus allegedly participated in a scheme that stole nearly $1 million by hacking into a payroll processing company’s system to access user accounts and divert payroll to prepaid debit cards he controlled. As alleged, Onus did this as effectively as someone who commits bank burglary, but with no need for a blowtorch or bolt-cutters,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.

Related: US Charges Swiss ‘Hacktivist’ for Data Theft and Leaks

Related: U.S. Charges North Korean Hackers Over $1.3 Billion Bank Heists

Related: Two Romanians Arrested for Running Malware Encryption Services

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Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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