Man Pleads Guilty to $1.1 Million Email Phishing Scam
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A New York man pleaded guilty today to defrauding a national trade association out of more than $1.1 million in an email phishing scam.
According to court documents, Olajide Abraham Eyitayo, 46, of Hempstead, opened three banking accounts in January 2016 using a company that he formed in New York. From January through April 2016, the accounts were essentially dormant, and as of April 25, 2016, the combined balances of the three accounts were less than five dollars. On that day, a Virginia-based trade association approved a payment of more than $280,000 intended for a travel vendor, but the payment went to one of Eyitayo’s accounts. The association had changed the payment information for the vendor the month before, when a “spoof” email impersonating that vendor requested the payment information be changed to the account number that belonged to Eyitayo.
Over the next several months, Eyitayo received two more payments into his account that were intended for the association’s travel vendor. In total, Eyitayo received more than $1.1 million in fraudulent proceeds. Eyitayo spent and laundered the money in a variety of ways designed to conceal the scheme and the recipients of the crime’s proceeds. For example, Eyitayo purchased cars that he sent to his brother in Nigeria, wired money to and from various bank accounts and third parties, and spent other proceeds on personal expenses.
When the victim and bank caught on, Eyitayo told a variety of false and misleading stories to bank officials and law enforcement, and claimed that he worked in the lingerie business and falsely claimed that the first fraudulent deposit was for that business.
Eyitayo pleaded guilty to wire fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on June 15. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Tracy Doherty-McCormick, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Andrew W. Vale, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jamar K. Walker and Ryan S. Faulconer are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information is located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:17-cr-269.