Scammer Receives 4-Year Prison Sentence After Being Caught in the US

Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross Senior Writer
Tyler Cross Tyler Cross Senior Writer

Solomon Ekunke Okpe, who is a 31-year-old from Nigeria, has been sentenced to four years and one month in prison for his participation in a cybercriminal group that operated from Nigeria and Malaysia.

The group carried out a series of complex financial fraud schemes over the internet, targeting unsuspecting individuals, banks, and businesses in the United States and other countries.

Between December 2011 and January 2017, Okpe and his accomplices engaged in a variety of scams, including business email compromise (BEC), work-from-home, check-cashing, romance, and credit card fraud.

The intended losses resulting from these scams exceeded one million dollars (though, it isn’t confirmed if the actual losses were this large), and among the victims were well-known entities like First American Holding Company and MidFirst Bank.

To execute their schemes, the group employed email phishing attacks to acquire victims’ login credentials and sensitive information. They hacked into online accounts, impersonated individuals, and adopted fake identities to deceive their targets. In addition, they trafficked, possessed, and used stolen credit cards to further their fraudulent schemes.

In BEC scams, the conspirators posed as trusted individuals to dupe banks and companies into making unauthorized wire transfers to accounts specified by the group. Moreover, they posted fake job advertisements on websites and forums, pretending to hire individuals for seemingly legitimate work-from-home positions.

Unbeknownst to these “employees,” they were directed to perform tasks that facilitated the fraud schemes, such as creating bank and payment processing accounts, transferring or withdrawing money from these accounts, and cashing or depositing counterfeit checks. Essentially, these employees were unwittingly used as money mules to move cash around in legitimate-looking ways.

One of his co-conspirators, Johnson Uke Obogo, was caught in the UK and also arrested. He was sentenced to a little over one year in prison. Investigations into the cybercrime group are ongoing.

About the Author
Tyler Cross
Tyler Cross
Senior Writer

About the Author

Tyler is a writer at SafetyDetectives with a passion for researching all things tech and cybersecurity. Prior to joining the SafetyDetectives team, he worked with cybersecurity products hands-on for more than five years, including password managers, antiviruses, and VPNs and learned everything about their use cases and function. When he isn't working as a "SafetyDetective", he enjoys studying history, researching investment opportunities, writing novels, and playing Dungeons and Dragons with friends."