A Nigerian hacker, Obinna Obioha, has been jailed by a New York federal judge for 51 months for operating a fraud scheme that defrauded $6.5 million from businesses in the U.S. and other places.
David Hurd, the U.S. District Judge sentenced 31-year-old Obinna, for running a scheme in which he instructed hackers to hack into computers and email accounts of individuals around the world using malicious software.
Obinna was arrested on October 6, 2016, after flying from Lagos, Nigeria, to JFK International Airport. He has been in custody since that time.
In April 2017, as part of his guilty plea to wire fraud, Obinna admitted that, between January and September 2016, he was involved in at least 50 wire transfers, and that about $6.5 million was sent by wire to bank accounts that he and his associates controlled.
While in Nigeria, Obioha and his fellow hackers hacked into computers and email accounts used by the victims in the United States and around the world.
They consistently monitored email addresses in search of impending commercial transactions, and then created email addresses that appeared similar to the victims’ legitimate email addresses.
With the fake email addresses, Obinna sent fraudulent invoices to victims, instructing them to wire funds to bank accounts that he and his accomplices controlled under the pretence they were making payments for actual deals previously negotiated.
The fraud accounts received money from victims in New York, Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and Texas, among other places.
Obioha’s sentence was announced by Acting United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith and Vadim D. Thomas, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
According to FBI Special Agent in Charge Vadim D. Thomas, “These schemes can rob individuals and businesses of their livelihood. Cyber-crime is a serious threat and the FBI is prepared to go to any lengths to apprehend those like Obioha.”
“We will continue to track down and bring to justice cyber criminals like Obioha no matter where they operate. I thank the FBI for its terrific work in this case identifying and apprehending Obioha,” Acting United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith said.