Two Nigerians Sentenced to Prison in U.S. for Role in BEC Scams
Two Nigerian nationals have been sentenced to prison in the United States for their roles in Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
The two, Opeyemi Abidemi Adeoso, 46, and Benjamin Adeleke Ifebajo, 47, were arrested in 2019 as part of Operation reWired, a joint US-Nigeria operation targeting online scams.
Adeoso, who pleaded guilty in June last year, was sentenced to 151 months in federal prison. Ifebajo pleaded guilty in March 2020 and was sentenced to 120 months in prison. They were also ordered to pay $9.3 million and $2.1 million in restitution, respectively.
Authorities identified Adeoso as the individual behind a bank account registered to Daniel Sammy Campbell, which received over $504,000 in funds as part of a BEC scheme in which both Adeoso and Ifebajo were involved. Both were living in the U.S. on non-immigrant visas.
The two admitted to using fraudulent passports to set up individual bank accounts. Other individuals involved in the scheme sent phishing emails to employees at victim organizations, asking them to make wire transfers.
After the transfers were completed, the defendants withdrew the money via cashiers’ checks, or transferred the funds electronically to other accounts. Occasional purchases were also made.
Both defendants are believed to have used numerous aliases to perform the fraudulent activities.
In July 2021, another co-conspirator, Temitope Aminat Folorunsho, 35, was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison. He was ordered to pay $221,000 in restitution.