The Southern District of New York has indicted four men, including two from Houston for engaging in a fraudulent business email compromise (“BEC”) scheme.
Joshua Ikejimba was arrested in Houston yesterday. Cyril Ashu and Ifeanyi Eke were arrested in Atlanta, Georgia. The fourth defendant, Chinedu Ironuah, of Houston, remains at large.
The scheme allegedly ran from 2016 through July 2018. The defendants registered shell companies. They opened bank accounts in the name of the shell companies and under false identities.
The indictment alleges that they sent fraudulent spoofed emails to companies and entities, purporting to be vendors requesting payments. After funds were wired, the monies were transferred to other accounts controlled by the defendants. Ikejimba and Ironuah allegedly withdrew the cash using check cashing facilities in Houston.
Victims listed in the indictment include
- Intergovernmental organization in New York ($188,815)
- Foreign-based healthcare company ($41,495)
- Foreign-based manufacturing company ($123,895)
The press release mentions that the defendants allegedly stole millions of dollars.
All four are charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of wire fraud. These charges each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Cyril Ashu is also charged with one count of aggravated identify theft.
Last month, I wrote about a customer of Houston-based Prosperity Bank that lost $2.6 million in a BEC scheme.