US based Nigerian, Emmanuel Okara Jailed Over E-mail Fraud
A Nigeria national based in America, ONYEKACHI EMMANUEL OPARA has pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty in Manhattan federal court to charges stemming from his participation in fraudulent business email compromise scams that targeted thousands of victims around the world, including the United States.
According to FBI press release sent to AltAfrika.com, the scams attempted to defraud victims of millions of dollars.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “Onyekachi Emmanuel Opara ran a global email scam business that victimized thousands of people out of millions of dollars. And even though he operated his so-called ‘business’ in a country halfway around the world, our Office’s global reach ensures that he will serve time in the United States for his crimes”.
According to allegations in an Indictment and other documents filed in federal court, as well as statements made in public court proceedings: Between 2014 and 2016, OPARA and co-conspirator David Chukwuneke Adindu participated in Business Email Compromise scams (“BEC scams”) targeting thousands of victims around the world, including in the United States.
In total, the BEC scams attempted to defraud millions of dollars from victims.
Information revealed further that, OPARA and others carried out BEC scams by exchanging information regarding: (1) bank accounts used for receiving funds from victims; (2) email accounts for communicating with victims; (3) scripts for requesting wire transfers from victims; and (4) lists of names and email addresses for contacting and impersonating potential victims.
OPARA, 29, of Lagos, Nigeria, was arrested in South Africa on the basis of a provisional arrest warrant in December 2016 and was extradited on January 22, 2018. He pled guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
He is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Crotty on July 11, 2018, at 11 a.m.
Adindu, 30, who is Opara’s conspirator, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft, when he was arraigned and was sentenced to 41 months in prison on December 14, 2017.
The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.
Mr. Berman praised the investigative work of the FBI. Mr. Berman also thanked Oath’s E-Crime Investigations Team, the National Prosecuting Authority for South Africa, the South African Police Service, and noted that the investigation is continuing.