Nigerian man extradited from UK for participating in business email compromise scams | USAO-SDNY
Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Deputy Director in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (“FBI”) New York Field Office, today announced that CHIBUNDU JOSEPH ANUEBUNWA, a Nigerian citizen, was extradited from the United Kingdom and arrived in the United States this afternoon. ANUEBUNWA was extradited for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and wire fraud in connection with his alleged participation in a multi-million dollar commercial email compromise campaign that targeted thousands of victims worldwide, including in the States -United. ANUEBUNWA will be presented today before US Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker. The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty. As part of the same plot as ANUEBUNWA, co-accused DAVID CHUKWUNEKE ADINDU was previously sentenced to 41 months in prison, and co-accused ONYEKACHI EMMANUEL OPARA was previously extradited from South Africa and sentenced to 60 months in prison.
US Attorney Damian Williams said: “As alleged in the indictment, Chibundu Joseph Anuebunwa attempted to steal money from thousands of businesses around the world by posing as executives of company and sending fake emails to company employees. Today’s extradition should serve as a warning to those who think they can defraud victims in the United States from halfway around the world: the United States and its international partners will find you and demand accounts, no matter how long it takes.
According to the allegations in the indictment unveiled today in Manhattan federal court:
Between 2014 and 2016, ANUEBUNWA, OPARA and ADINDU participated in business email compromise scams (“BEC scams”) targeting thousands of victims worldwide, including in the United States. As part of the BEC scams, emails were sent to employees of various companies requesting that the funds be transferred to specified bank accounts. The emails were believed to be from supervisors at these companies or from third-party vendors who do business with these companies. The emails, however, were not legitimate. Rather, they either came from email accounts with a domain name very similar to a legitimate domain name, or the metadata of the emails had been altered so that the emails appeared to come from legitimate email addresses. . Once the victims complied with the fraudulent transfer instructions, the transferred funds were quickly withdrawn or transferred to different bank accounts. In total, BEC scams have attempted to defraud victims of millions of dollars.
ANUEBUNWA and others committed BEC scams by exchanging information regarding: (1) bank accounts used to receive funds from victims; (2) email accounts used to communicate with victims; (3) scripts to request bank transfers from victims; and (4) lists of names and email addresses to contact and impersonate potential victims.
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ANUEBUNWA, 39, of Lagos, Nigeria, is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of wire fraud , also punishable by up to 20 years in prison. .
The maximum potential penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr Williams praised the FBI’s investigative work and thanked the Yahoo E-Crime Investigations team for their assistance. The United States Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs in the Department’s Criminal Division provided significant assistance in securing the extradition of the accused from the United Kingdom. Mr Williams also thanked the UK Crown Prosecution Service for their assistance in today’s extradition.
This case is being handled by the Bureau’s Complex Fraud and Cybercrime Unit. Assistant United States Attorneys Andrew K. Chan and Daniel Loss are in charge of the prosecutions.
The counts in the indictment are charges only and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
 As the introductory sentence indicates, the entire text of the Indictment is allegation only, and each fact described herein is to be treated as an allegation.