BOSTON – A Framingham man was sentenced yesterday for his role in a business email compromise (BEC) scheme.
Gustaf Njei, 27, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 27 months in prison and two years of supervised release. Njei was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $94,630. In December 2022, Njei was convicted by a federal jury of two counts of wire fraud, one count of structuring to avoid reporting requirements, one count of unlawful monetary transactions and one count of money laundering conspiracy.
Njei set up a bank account in the name of a fake business, “Njei Trading,” to receive the criminal proceeds of a BEC scheme. A BEC scheme is a sophisticated scam often targeting businesses involved in wire transfer payments. The fraud is carried out by compromising and/or “spoofing” legitimate business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques, to cause employees of the victim company (or other individuals involved in legitimate business transactions) to transfer funds to accounts controlled by the scammers.
Njei’s co-conspirators used hacked and spoofed email accounts to trick the victims of the scheme into wiring hundreds of thousands of dollars to a bank account under Njei’s control. Njei then transferred part of the funds to a bank account located overseas, while splitting the remaining funds with a co-conspirator in the United States.
“Since June 2016, victims have lost over $43 billion to BEC fraud schemes just like the one Mr. Njei and his co-conspirators engaged in. The network of online criminals targeting victims is growing every day and their tools are getting more sophisticated. This sentence should send a clear message to scammers that they will be identified and held accountable,” said United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins. “Mr. Njei knew he was engaging in a devastating fraud scheme, but all that mattered to him was lining his pockets with proceeds stolen from unwitting innocent victims. This sentence holds him accountable and we will to make sure that the restitution the court ordered gets to his victims.”
“Scam artists like Gustaf Njei are committing fraud on a massive scale and must be held accountable. This sentence does exactly that, although the harm the victims in this case suffered can’t be measured in dollars and cents,” said Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “Every year, victims lose billions of dollars of their hard-earned money, along with many sleepless nights, and fear losing their businesses and credibility. This case shows the FBI will do everything it can to find and hold financial fraudsters like Mr. Njei accountable to the fullest extent of the law.”
U.S. Attorney Rollins and FBI SAC Bonavolonta made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys William B. Brady and Benjamin A. Saltzman of Rollins’ Criminal Division prosecuted the case.