A Nigerian email scammer based in New York was on Tuesday sentenced to 40 months in prison, and ordered to pay back $2.7m in stolen money.
Ifeanyi Eke, who also went by the name Luther Mulbah Doley, had pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and will serve three years of supervised release following his stretch in the big house. He is also likely to be deported since he came to America from Nigeria in 2016 on a temporary work visa.
As opposed to the infamous Nigerian email scams where people pretended to be heirs to fortunes and devised various ways to get victims to send them money to access their funds, the scam run by Eke and three other Nigerian conspirators was significantly more sophisticated, the indictment states [PDF].
They targeted large organizations and researched their victims, setting up identikit companies to businesses that the targets’ already had a business relationship with. They then sent fake invoices via spoofed email addresses with wire details linking to real accounts setup under the same names.
The money was then withdrawn in the form of cashiers’ checks and the scammers moved on. Incredibly, the the largest single haul was $188,815 that they conned from the United Nations. For two years, the four men used no less than 17 aliases to avoid detection and managed to bring in $2.7m from 35 different groups: an average of just over $77,000 each time.