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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Nigerian Man Sentenced To 41 Months In Prison For Participating In Business Email Compromise Scams

Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that DAVID CHUKWUNEKE ADINDU was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 41 months in prison for participating in a wire fraud conspiracy and identity theft conspiracy.  These charges stemmed from ADINDU’s participation in fraudulent business email compromise scams that targeted thousands of victims around the world, including the United States.  Collectively, the scams attempted to defraud victims of more than $25 million.  Today’s sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty.


Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said:  “As part of a business email compromise scam, David Chukwuneke Adindu tricked thousands of victims around the world into fraudulently wiring him over $25 million.  As Adindu learned today, building a business based on fraud can come with a steep price, and that is years in a federal prison.”


According to publicly filed court documents and statements made at public court proceedings:


Between 2014 and 2016, ADINDU participated in Business Email Compromise scams (“BEC scams”) targeting thousands of victims around the world, including in the United States.  As part of the BEC scams, emails were sent to employees of various companies directing that funds be transferred to specified bank accounts.  The emails purported to be from supervisors at those companies or third party vendors that did business with those companies.  The emails, however, were not legitimate.  Rather, they were either from email accounts with a domain name that was very similar to a legitimate domain name, or the metadata in the emails had been modified so that the emails appeared as if they were from legitimate email addresses.  After victims complied with the fraudulent wiring instructions, the transferred funds were quickly withdrawn or moved into different bank accounts.  In total, the BEC scams attempted to defraud over $25 million from victims.


ADINDU and others carried out BEC scams by exchanging information regarding: (1) bank accounts used for receiving funds from victims; (2) email accounts for communicating with victims; (3) scripts for requesting wire transfers from victims; and (4) lists of names and email addresses for contacting and impersonating potential victims.                


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In addition to the prison term, ADINDU, 30, of Lagos, Nigeria, and Guangzhou, China, was ordered to pay over $1.4 million in restitution. 


Mr. Kim praised the investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Mr. Kim also thanked the Yahoo! E-Crime Investigations Team, and noted that the investigation is continuing.


This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Andrew K. Chan is in charge of the prosecution.

Press Release Number: 
Updated December 14, 2017