Profile and Arrest
Obinwanne Okeke was on Forbes 30 under 30 list and appeared on the cover of Forbes Africa magazine. The FBI in the United States arrested him on charges of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. His arrest occurred as he was preparing to board a plane out of the United States at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The Alleged Scam
The FBI affidavit submitted to support the arrest order for Okeke links him to an incident from June 2018 where Unatrac Holding Limited was scammed to the tune of $11 million.
The scam was perpetrated by gaining access to the Office365 account of Unatrac’s CFO through a phishing e-mail.
According to the affidavit, the CFO opened the phishing e-mail around 1 April and clicked on a link that took him to a page designed to look like the legitimate Office365 login page.
Over the course of several weeks, the attacker accessed the account and created e-mail filter rules to hide e-mails from the CFO that might have tipped them off to the suspicious activity on their account. The rules intercepted e-mails from the company’s financial team to the CFO, marked them as read, and moved them to a folder so they didn’t appear in the inbox.
With access to the CFO’s Office365 account, the attacker also obtained Unatrac invoice templates, which were used to generate fake invoices in the name of “Pak Fei Trade Limited”.
On 7 November 2018, the FBI served a federal search warrant on Google and found that the Gmail address used to perpetrate the attack on Unatrac was used in several other phishing attacks and scams.
Google’s records also showed that the Gmail address was linked to several other accounts. In particular, it shared a login session cookie with an address that the FBI was able to connect with Okeke.
Represented by his attorney John Iweanoge, Okeke has appeared in court twice since his arrest and will face a grand jury to determine if he will be criminally charged.