By James, Michael Igiri
A New York federal judge has sentenced, Obinna Obioha, to 51 months jai term has
been jailed for 51months for operating a fraud scheme that swindled $6.5 million from
businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Online news Blueprint reports District Judge David N. Hurd sentenced Obinna Obioha,
31, for running a scheme in which he instructed hackers to hack into computers and
email accounts of individuals around the world using malicious software.
Announcing Obioha’s sentence, Acting United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and
Vadim D. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, said, “Obioha, working from Nigeria, was a central figure in a
fraud scheme using digital disguises and deceit to bilk businesses out of millions of
“We will continue to track down and bring to justice cybercriminals like Obioha no matter
where they operate. I thank the FBI for its terrific work in this case identifying and
apprehending Obioha,” Jaquith said.
FBI Special Agent in Charge Vadim D. Thomas said, “These schemes can rob individuals
and businesses of their livelihood. Cyber-crime is a serious threat and the FBI is
prepared to go to any lengths to apprehend those like Obioha.”
As part of his guilty plea to wire fraud in April 2017,Obioha admitted that, while in
Nigeria, he worked with and instructed others to hack into computers and email accounts
used by dozens of victims in the United States and around the world.
The organisation infiltrated victims’ computers and email accounts using malicious
software (“malware”). After monitoring victims ‘information to identify imminent
commercial transactions, Obioha and his associates created knockoff email addresses
that appeared similar to but varied slightly from victims’ legitimate email addresses.
Obioha and his associates used those bogus email accounts to send fraudulent invoices
to victims, instructing them to wire funds to bank accounts controlled by Obioha and his
associates, under the pretence that the wires were payments for actual deals that had
been previously negotiated by the victims.
Obioha admitted that between January and September 2016, he was involved in at least
50 wire transfers, and that about $6.5 million was sent by wire to bank accounts that he
and his associates controlled.
The accounts received money from fraud victims in New York, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and
Texas, among other places. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Donald N. Hurd described
Obioha as “right in the middle of the action” in “very sophisticated criminal activity”
designed to achieve “millions of dollars in illegal funds.”
Obioha was arrested on October 6, 2016, after fl ying from Lagos, Nigeria, to JFK
International Airport. He has been in custody since that time. Th is case was investigated
by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S.Attorney Wayne A. Myers.