Nigerian National pleads guilty to participating in a millionaire BEC scheme

Pierluigi Paganini September 25, 2023

A Nigerian national pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering through business email compromise (BEC).

The Nigerian national Kosi Goodness Simon-Ebo (29), who is residing in South Africa, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering through business email compromise (BEC). According to the US authorities, fraudulent activities caused losses of more than $6 million to the victims.

The man was extradited from Canada to the United States on April 12, 2023. 

“According to his plea agreement, from February 2017 until at least July 2017, Simon-Ebo conspired with others to perpetrate a BEC scheme.” reads the press release published by DoJ. “Specifically, Simon-Ebo and his co-conspirators, including co-conspirators residing in Maryland, gained unauthorized access to email accounts associated with individuals and businesses targeted by the conspirators and sent false wiring instructions to the victims’ email accounts from “spoofed” emails, which are emails with forged sender addresses, to deceive the victims into sending money to bank accounts controlled by perpetrators of the scheme, called “drop accounts.””

During the same period, Simon-Ebo and his co-conspirators conspired to commit money laundering. They distributed the stolen funds in the drop accounts, then moved the funds to other accounts, then, withdrew cash, obtained cashier’s checks, and wrote checks to other individuals and entities. 

“As detailed in the plea agreement, the intended loss for transactions in which Simon-Ebo was directly involved—which were some, but not all of the transactions involving Simon-Ebo and his co-conspirators—was approximately $6,988,249 and the actual loss resulting from these transactions was at least $1,072,306.  Simon-Ebo had direct control over at least $45,925 of the funds obtained from victims.” continues the press release. 

The man was condemned to pay a monetary judgment of $45,925 and fully restore the victims’ losses, an amount agreed upon by all parties to be at least $1,072,306.

Simon-Ebo faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the wire fraud conspiracy and for the money laundering conspiracy. 

In December 2022, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA OCI), and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a joint security advisory to warn of business email compromise (BEC) attacks leading to the hijack of shipments of food products and ingredients.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, BEC)

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