Third Nigerian National Admits Role in Business E-Mail Compromise Scheme Targeting CFOs and Controllers
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that STANLEY HUGOCHUKWU NWOKE, also known as “Stanley Banks,” “Banks,” “Hugo Banks,” “Banky,” and “Jose Calderon,” 28, a citizen of Nigeria, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall in New Haven to a fraud offense stemming from his role in a business e-mail compromise scheme.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Nwoke conspired with Adeyemi Odufuye and others in a business compromise scheme that targeted hundreds, if not thousands, of CFOs, controllers and others at businesses, nonprofit organizations, and schools in Connecticut and across the United States. As part of the scheme, Odufuye, Nwoke and others, including Olumuyiwa Yahtrip Adejumo, sent e-mails addressed to executives that were made to appear to be sent from the legitimate e-mail address of the CEO or other executive from the business. The emails were sent with the intent of having the recipients send or wire money to bank accounts used by members of the conspiracy.
The investigation revealed that scheme participants controlled multiple e-mail and social media accounts used in the scheme and, in certain instances, sent e-mails and attachments containing malware to the intended recipients.
In late 2015, Odufuye and others sent or caused to be sent dozens of e-mails to the controller of a company in Torrington, Connecticut. In the e-mails, Odufuye posed at the real CEO of the victim company and instructed the controller to send multiple wire transfers exceeding a total of $1 million from the company’s accounts to various individuals and purported entities. The company then sent five wire transfers totaling more than $500,000 to accounts in Virginia, Florida, Washington, D.C., and Hong Kong.
The investigation revealed that Odufuye and others also targeted a company headquartered in Waterbury, Connecticut, as part of this scheme.
In pleading guilty, Nwoke agreed that the loss related to his role in the scheme is at least $109,100. The government believes that the loss attributable to Nwoke is over $1.8 million.
Nwoke was arrested in Mauritius on May 8, 2018. He was extradited to the U.S. on May 25, 2018, and is detained.
Nwoke pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years. Judge Hall scheduled sentencing for August 5, 2019.
Nwoke has agreed to a restitution order of $662,053.87.
Odufuye, formerly residing in Sheffield, United Kingdom, and Adejumo, formerly residing in Toledo, Ohio, both citizens of Nigeria, previously pleaded guilty to related charges. On December 12, 2018, Odufuye was sentenced to 45 months of imprisonment and was ordered to pay restitution of $921,497.87 to victims of the scheme. On August 17, 2018, Adejumo was sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment.
This matter has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut Cyber Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David T. Huang.
U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency, the United Kingdom’s Metropolitan Police, and the Mauritius Police Force’s Central Criminal Investigation Department for their assistance in this case.
To contact the Connecticut Cyber Task Force, please call the FBI in New Haven at 203-777-6311.