During a three-day incident, a customer of an old generation bank had their account compromised. Suspected hackers then moved N523,337,100 unlawfully from the account to 18 different accounts in the same bank.
The Police Special Fraud Unit's spokeswoman, SP Eyitayo Johnson, said in a statement that the suspects thereafter transferred the money from the 18 accounts into 225 other accounts owned by 22 different banks and financial institutions.
He further stated that two people had been detained in relation to the crime. He asserted that the coordinated cyberattack happened between April 23, 2022, and Monday, April 25, 2022, just before companies opened.
“A net sum of N523,337,100 was fraudulently transferred by Internet fraudsters who hacked a customer's account domiciled in one of the old-generation banks and posted the funds into 18 different accounts in the same bank before transmitting sa,” Johnson said. “The legal section of the Police Special Fraud Unit in Ikoyi-Lagos, headed by CSP E. A. Jackson, has successfully obtained an order of the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, for the preservation/
“During the course of the investigation, N160,287,071.47 was recovered from several banks; two individuals were detained, and agents are currently pursuing additional leads in an effort to catch the remaining members of the syndicate. As soon as the investigations are finished, the suspects will be charged in court.
In a separate development, Johnson reported that the legal section of the unit charged one Sikiru Olayinka and his company, Excampo Nigeria Limited, with crimes related to fraudulent conversion and theft of $123,000.00 that was money that was mistakenly transferred into his company's domiciliary account on September 5, 2018, to the Federal High Court, Ikoyi-Lagos.
He claimed, “Within hours of receiving the money in his account, Sikiru Olawale hurriedly went to the bank and wired $120,000.00 in two installments into the accounts of his associates. The bank made concerted efforts to recover the money and transfer it to the proper account, but Sikiru Olayinka resisted, thwarted these efforts, and continued to misappropriate the funds in violation of the provisions of the Failed Banks Act of 1994 and the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act of 1991.
On Tuesday, September 15, 2022, according to Johnson, the PSFU charged James Abidemi, Diamondsmith De-Great Universal Petroleum Corporation, and other individuals who are still at large with conspiracy and obtaining N396,999,080.00 through deception, fraudulent conversion, and theft.
“The complaint is a consulting company that specializes in helping clients find and provide payment services in foreign currency for goods and services offered all over the world.
According to the agreement between the consulting firm and the suspect, Diamondsmith De-Great Universal Petroleum, the suspect's company, got the aforementioned amount between May 23 and May 28, 2022, in installments.
“The funds were intended for the purchase of $688,000.00 at an exchange rate of N577 per US Dollar and were to be remitted to identified beneficiaries in mainland China and Hong Kong in the amounts of $250,000.00, $325,000.00, $100,000.00, and $13,000.00.”
Johnson claimed that while the money was actually routed to another member of the gang, a banker headquartered in Ghana, who distributed the proceeds to numerous additional accomplices, the suspect gave false telexes as proof of remittance to overseas business associates of the complainant.
“As a result, the PSFU has asked INTERPOL for help in locating the other syndicate members who are outside of Nigeria.
“Anyasinti Nneka, the Commissioner of Police at SFU, has counseled banks and financial institutions on the necessity of stepping up their cyber-security oversight and conducting routine background checks on employees who have login privileges that could be compromised to make banks vulnerable to cyber-attacks.
She also urged the general public to look into the causes of any unforeseen inflows into their accounts. The recipient should work with their banks and make deliberate steps to reverse or reroute any money that are discovered to have been incorrectly credited. Utilizing such monies is unlawful, according to the statement.