US authorities arrest 29 Nigerians, others for email scams

The United States government said the criminals were arrested over attempt to steal billions of dollars from businesses and individuals.

  • The United States government said the alleged criminals were arrested over attempt to steal billions of dollars from businesses and individuals.

Twenty-nine Nigerians were among 74 persons arrested by the United States authorities in a global crackdown on email fraud scams.

The United States government on Monday, June 11, 2018, said the alleged criminals were arrested over attempt to steal billions of dollars from businesses and individuals.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation said the cases involve a growing type of fraud known as “business email compromise” that targets employees with access to corporate finances. The fraudsters send emails that appear to be from trusted corporate executives or vendors, which instruct targeted employees to wire funds to accounts controlled by criminals.

The same groups also ran similar scams targeting individuals, including real-estate buyers and the elderly, the bureau said.

Christopher Wray, FBI director said; “Today’s announcement highlighting this recent surge in law enforcement resources targeting BEC schemes “demonstrates the FBI's commitment to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises that target American citizens and their businesses.”

“We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners around the world to end these fraud schemes and protect the hard-earned assets of our citizens. The public we serve deserves nothing less,” he added.

Operation Wire Wire

Operation WireWire is a six-month sweep that culminated in over two weeks of intensified law enforcement activity resulting in 74 arrests in the U.S. and overseas, including 42 in the U.S., 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius, and Poland.

It was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4 million and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers, according to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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