Nigerian National Pleads Guilty to Multi-Million Dollar Cyber Fraud Scheme Targeting Tulsa Company and Four Other Companies
An indictment in the Northern District of Oklahoma was unsealed today, charging ten men for conspiracy to commit wire fraud as a part of an international conspiracy to defraud online retailers through a variety of schemes collectively known as “refund fraud”.
From April 2019, through the date of the Indictment on October 19, 2023, the self-styled Artemis Refund Group (“ARG”) engaged in numerous refund fraud schemes to steal goods from online retailers for themselves and others. ARG advertised their refund fraud services heavily on online messaging forums, which resulted in hundreds of customers of the fraud placing thousands of refund fraud orders. Some of these fraudulently refunded orders were shipped to the Northern District of Oklahoma, giving rise to venue in this district.
As part of the refund fraud conspiracy, ARG would instruct fraud customers to purchase a product of their choice at one of the many retailers they targeted, collect information about the order, and then contact the retailer to initiate a fraudulent refund transaction using a variety of methods tailored to the particular retailer. After ARG was successful in deceiving the retailer into processing a fraudulent refund, the fraud customers would maintain possession of the item, but would be refunded the entire purchase price. ARG charged customers of the fraud between 15-20% of the total price of the refunded item. Members of ARG also engaged in the scheme to obtain stolen goods for themselves and resell them on online marketplaces for profit.
These refund fraud schemes resulted in millions of dollars in losses to online retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, Wayfair, Dell Technologies, Dicks’ Sporting Goods, HP, and Adidas, among others.
Wyatt Douglas Miller, 24, San Marcos, CA; Kevin Ramses Rocha, 24, Littlerock, CA; Tyler Dewayne Rogers, 24, Goleta, CA; Jonah Maxwell Fesman, 23, Altadena, CA; Antonio Ernesto Munoz, 24, Palmdale, CA; Juan Manuel Camacho-Zarate, 25, Santa Maria, CA; Cameron David Martin, 23, Winter Garden, FL; Ilyess Hadri Talbi, 20, Columbus, OH; Steven Lin, 27, Philadelphia, PA; Gilbert Immanuel, 25, Lutz, FL participated in the scheme, along with unindicted coconspirators in Singapore, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
“The indictment of the members of the Artemis Refund Group shows that cybercriminals cannot hide behind the anonymity of the internet,” said U.S. Attorney Clinton J. Johnson. “Thanks to efforts of the FBI and the prosecutors of my office, the ARG conspirators will now face justice in the Northern District of Oklahoma. We will continue to work with victim companies and our partners here and abroad to ensure cybercriminals cannot misuse the internet for illicit gain.”
“The individuals named in today’s indictment all had an alleged role in an international conspiracy to cheat the online retail system and profit at the expense of American businesses,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. “These charges illustrate the FBI’s dedication and ongoing efforts with our partners across the globe to combat fraud in its many forms.”
If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence or fines after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The cyber squads of the FBI’s Oklahoma City and Birmingham Field Offices, as well as agents from the FBI Seattle Field Office are investigating the case. This case is part of the FBI’s Operation Chargeback, an ongoing investigation into ARG and other refund fraud groups across the US and internationally. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Nassar, Matthew P. Cyran, and Ashley Robert are prosecuting the case.
Substantial assistance and cooperation was provided by Target, Amazon’s Customer Protection and Enforcement Team, Walmart, Wayfair, Dell Technologies, Dick’s Sporting Goods, HP, Adidas, Google’s CyberCrime Investigation Group, and eBay’s Criminal & Regulatory Investigations Team.
For more resources on cybercrime, visit www.ic3.gov.
An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.