A court in Norfolk, Virginia, United States has jailed Nigerian scammer, Obinwanne Okeke, better known as Invictus Obi, for 10 years for a computer-based fraud scheme that caused approximately $11 million in known losses to his victims.
According to the Department of Justice Eastern District of Virginia, the sentencing was pronounced Tuesday, by Chief US District Judge Rebecca Smith.
“Through subterfuge and impersonation, Obinwanne Okeke engaged in a multi-year global business email and computer hacking scheme that caused a staggering $11 million in losses to his victims,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the district.
“Today’s sentence further demonstrates EDVA’s and FBI’s worldwide reach in vigorously pursuing justice on behalf of American victims and others and holding international cybercriminals accountable, no matter where they commit their crimes.”
According to court documents, Obinwanne Okeke, 33, operated a group of companies known as the Invictus Group based in Nigeria and elsewhere.
From approximately 2015 to 2019, Okeke and others engaged in a conspiracy to conduct various computer-based frauds.
The conspirators obtained and compiled the credentials of hundreds of victims, including victims in the Eastern District of Virginia.
As part of the scheme, Okeke and other conspirators engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment.
In April 2018, a Unatrac executive fell prey to a phishing email that allowed conspirators to capture login credentials.
The conspirators sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices. Okeke participated in the effort to victimize Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totaling nearly $11 million, which was transferred overseas.
Additionally, Okeke engaged in other forms of cyber fraud, including sending phishing emails to capture email credentials, creating fraudulent web pages, and causing other losses to numerous victims.
“The FBI will not allow cybercriminals free reign in the digital world to prey on U.S. companies,” said Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office. “This sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to working with our partners at the Department of Justice and our foreign counterparts to locate cybercriminals across the globe and bring them to the United States to be held accountable.”
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.
Okeke had earlier argued in the course of the prosecution that American authorities lacked jurisdiction to charge him for fraud as he did not commit the offense he was being accused of in America, and no American companies or individuals were swindled at the material time of his indictment.
Obiwanne Okeke “Invictus” came from obscurity to limelight when, in 2016 at the age of 28, he landed a coveted spot on the cover of Forbes Africa magazine as one of the magazine’s prestigious ’30 under 30 list of African entrepreneurs.’
In the article, he was one of the many whiz kids described as “Africa’s bright young things.”