A Nigerian national was Thursday sentenced to 51 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy that laundered $1.7 million from US companies through a Business Email Compromise scheme otherwise known as Alibaba.
In addition to the jail term, US District Court in Austin Texas also mandated 33-year-old Nosa Onaghise to refund $1.6 million of the stolen money; pay $230,000 in fines; and forfeit $14,282.50 found in his account.
Onaghise will also be on supervised release for three years after completing his prison term.
Court records show Onaghise was indicted with four other Nigerians who are already serving terms in the US for stealing over $10 million between 2016 and 2019. The conspirators were able to take out $6 million out of the loot before US law enforcement stopped further transfers.
The other four co-conspirators are: Bamiyi Omale ( serving 135 months in jail); Chinonso Agbaji (78 months); Igho Calaba (30 months); and Chibuzor Uba (36 months).
Earlier in 2018, Onaghise had pleaded guilty to one count of passport fraud for attempting to use a fake passport to open several bank accounts in the U.S. in furtherance of the fraud scheme.
“Scammers and fraudsters beware! We will bring the full weight of federal law enforcement down on those who prey on the legitimate business community here in Austin and elsewhere in this district,” stated U.S. Attorney Sofer.
“The sentence and restitution order handed down today demonstrate the serious nature of these offenses – offenses that damage our economy and harm innocent victims. If you are engaged in this shameful and illegal activity, you can expect to go to federal prison.”
Alibaba involves scammers hacking into a product seller’s email to stalk transaction discussions between a buyer and the seller; and inserting their own bank account details when it is time for the buyer to make payment.