A Young Nigerian man has been sentenced to five years in a US Federal prison for perpetuating email fraud. The 29 year old used emails to scam business men from Singapore and Switzerland out of millions of dollars before he was caught by authorities.
The news was announced by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey S. Newman, who identified the Nigerian as Onyekachi Emmanuel Opara.
According to the US attorney, Onyekachi had attempted to dupe thousands of victims into transferring money to him and his co-defendant in a phony email scheme.
Onyekachi had been arrested alongside an accomplice in South Africa in December 2016 and extradited to the US from Johannesburg in January of this year.
The Complex Frauds and Cybercrimes Unit of the FBI in New York reported that Onyekachi had created business email scams that targeted thousands of companies worldwide.
The scams had involved Opara and his accomplices pretending to be supervisors and third- party vendors at the target company and sent emails to the company employees requesting payments or information.
The fraudulent emails were sent from accounts whose domain names were similar to those of the company staff so it looked like the emails were coming from a familiar address.
Once a victim had transferred funds, Onyekachi immediately moved the funds to other accounts controlled by him and his accomplices; he attempted to steal $25 million using this method.
The Attorney further accused Onyekachi of running a love scam posing as a woman name Barbara and striking relationships with unsuspecting men online and coercing them to send money to foreign bank accounts under his control.
According to the US authorities, one of Onyekachi’s victims transferred $600,000 to one of Oyekachi’s accounts.
The Nigerian was ordered to a five year jail sentence and ordered to pay restitution totaling about $2.5million.
Authorities further sentenced him to an additional two years of supervised released after his initial five years was complete.
His accomplice, Adindu who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud as well as identity theft was also sentenced to four and half years in prison and ordered to pay a restitution of $1.4 million.