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3rd email scammer guilty for targeting CT, U.S. companies

By Joe Cooper, Hartford Business Journal - 19-05-08
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3rd email scammer guilty for targeting CT, U.S. companies

A third man pleaded guilty Tuesday for his role in an email scam that investigators claim cheated Connecticut companies and others in the U.S. out of more than $1.8 million, prosecutors say.

Stanley Hugochukwu Nwoke, 28, a Nigerian national, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty in New Haven federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, the Connecticut U.S. Attorney’s Office said Wednesday. Nwoke also agreed to pay more than $662,000 in restitution.

Nwoke was arrested in Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, in May last year and was extradited to the U.S. weeks later. He is currently in custody pending sentencing on Aug. 5.

According to investigators, Nwoke, also known under several aliases, conspired with Adeyemi Odufuye, Olumuyiwa Yahtrip Adejumo and others in a scheme that targeted hundreds, or potentially thousands, of chief financial officers, controllers and others at businesses, nonprofit organizations and schools in Connecticut and other states.

The co-conspirators sent emails addressed to executives that appeared to be sent from addresses of the CEO or other executives from the business that asked recipients to send or wire money to bank accounts they controlled.

Members of the conspiracy were found to have been controlling several email and social media accounts during the scheme that at times included attachments containing malware, which is a software designed to damage a computer, server or computer network.

In late 2015, the scammers sent dozens of emails posing as the CEO of a Torrington company and instructed the controller to send multiple wire transfers of more than $1 million from the company’s accounts to several people and purported entities. The company then distributed over $500,000 to accounts in Washington, D.C., Virgina, Florida and Hong Kong.

A company headquartered in Waterbury was also targeted in the scheme.

Nwoke agreed that at least $109,100 was stolen through his role in the scheme, but investigators believe that the loss attributed to him totals more than $1.8 million.

In Dec. 2018, Odufuye was sentenced to nearly four years in federal prison and ordered to pay $921,497 in restitution for related charges. Adejumo in April 2018 was also sentenced to 15 months of imprisonment for his role in the email scheme.

The matters have been investigated by the FBI and the Connecticut Cyber Task Force.


Tags: Nigerian, CEO scam, email, scammer, Stanley Hugochukwu Nwoke, Adeyemi Odufuye, Olumuyiwa Yahtrip Adejumo, conspiracy, wire fraud, malware

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