FBI Arrests Another Nigerian in U.S for Stealing $800,000 In Payroll Hacking

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently arrested a Nigerian, Charles Onus, 34, for his alleged involvement in diverting $800,000 into prepaid debit cards.

He was charged with computer fraud for causing damage to a protected computer, computer fraud for unauthorized access to a protected computer to further intended fraud, receipt of stolen money, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

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The amount translates to about N320 million at the current official rate of N410 per dollar.

This comes less than a month after Abidemi Rufai, an aide to Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, was arrested for fraud in the United States.

According to a statement on the United State Department of Justice website, Mr Onus was arrested and detained on April 14, in San Francisco.

He was presented before the Manhattan federal court on Wednesday.

Onus is accused of stealing payroll deposits processed by a company that provides human resources and payroll services to employers across the U.S. He allegedly participated in a scheme from about July 2017 to 2018 to conduct cyber intrusions of multiple user accounts maintained by the company.

During this period, 5,500 company user accounts were compromised and more than $800,000 in payroll funds were fraudulently diverted to prepaid debit cards, including those under Onus’s control. The compromised accounts were associated with employers whose payroll was processed by the company, including employers located in New York, USA.

He allegedly participated in a scheme that stole nearly $1 million by hacking into a payroll processing company’s system to access user accounts and divert payroll to prepaid debit cards he controlled.

“As alleged, Onus did this as effectively as someone who commits bank burglary, but with no need for a blowtorch or bolt-cutters. Thanks to the FBI and IRS-CI, Onus is in custody and facing serious federal charges,” the statement read in part.

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