29 individuals in Nigeria, 74 in the USA and three from Canada, Mauritius and Poland have been arrested by the United States Department of Justice over alleged financial fraud.
This came after a coordinated effort was launched by a conglomeration of American law enforcement agencies with a bid to disrupt business email compromise schemes which were being used to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals.
A report on the website of the Department of Justice said that the operation was a coordinated law enforcement effort by the US Department of Justice, US Department of Homeland Security, US Department of the Treasury and the US Postal Inspection Service, and took place over a period of 6 months.
In a statement, the DOJ said;“The operation also resulted in the seizure of nearly $2.4m, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14m in fraudulent wire transfers,” the statement said.
The scam being cracked down on usually targeted employees with access to company finances and businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments.
The statement added that the same criminal organisations that perpetrate these cyber crimes also affected everyday citizens by coercing them to make wire transfers to bank accounts controlled by the criminals.
It said, “Foreign citizens perpetrate many BEC scams. Those individuals are often members of transnational criminal organisations, which originated in Nigeria but have spread throughout the world.”
Speaking on the issue, FBI Director, Christopher Wray, said the operation was just a first and showed that the FBI is taking cybercrime against American citizens very seriously, “We will continue to work together with our law enforcement partners around the world to end these fraud schemes and protect the hard-earned assets of our citizens,” he added.