Bitcoin Daily: FBI Says Nigerian BEC Scam Netted Millions With Some Converted To Bitcoin

Two Nigerian scammers known for allegedly defrauding American companies for tens of millions of dollars that they transferred into bitcoin were extradited to the U.S. from Dubai, Cointelegraph reported.

The suspects were Olalekan Jacob Ponle, who used the alias “Mr. Woodbery,” and “Mark Kain,” and Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, who called himself “Ray Hushpuppi” and “Hush.” The two men reportedly posted pictures of themselves on Instagram with luxurious wealth, according to Cointelegraph.

But the two men got that wealth, allegedly, from a business email compromise (BEC) scheme, where they gained access to legitimate email accounts and then tricked the company’s employees into sending money to the scammer’s email account.

Using that method, Ponle and Abbas allegedly got as much as tens of millions of dollars. They reportedly transferred $6.5 million into 1,500 BTC, Cointelegraph wrote. Ponle, according to the complaint, wasn’t that concerned with covering his tracks — he reportedly used the same address on the Bitcoin network since 2014.

Ponle and Abbas tended to use Gemini more than other networks, despite that crypto being one of the more compliant in the entire industry. But the two likely needed a U.S.-based crypto in order to access businesses, Cointelegraph reported.

In July of 2019, after the crimes had already allegedly been taking place for months, the FBI was able to infiltrate the circle and an agent used the same handle as a previous associate to talk with Ponle, using that to conduct a transaction and prove what was going on.

One of Ponle’s last posts on social media said followers were “worth the pleasures of their labor,” and implored them to “Stop letting people make you feel guilty for the wealth you’ve acquired, especially when you paid in blood, sweat and tears, to have the things that are deemed ‘un-purchase-able’,” Coindesk reported.

The amount of bitcoins transferred across the dark web rose 65 percent in the first quarter of 2020, PYMNTS reported, totaling $384 million.


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The CFO’s Guide To Digitizing B2B Payments, a PYMNTS and Comdata collaboration, examines how companies are updating their AP approaches to protect their cash flows, support their vendors and enable their financial departments to operate remotely.