A Nigerian fraudster, Obinwanne Okeke popularly called Invictus Obi was on Tuesday sentenced in the United States to 10 years in prison for his involvement in a computer-based intrusion fraud scheme amounting to $11 million.
Obinwanne Okeke, 32, the Nigerian businessman owner of Invictus Group arrested in the United States last year pleaded guilty to $11 million (N4.2 billion) fraud.
He made the admission American prosecutors that he was involved in computer-based fraud between 2015 and 2019.
He initially pleaded not guilty and was remanded by different district court judges. He later backed down and admitted to his involvement in the fraud scheme.
Family members, prominent personalities, the clergy have all begged on behalf of a Nigerian fraudster who made it to Forbes by scamming innocent people of their hardearned money.
“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 Eastern District of Virginia.
“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.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia provided details of the court judgment early Wednesday morning.
Recall that the 33-year-old before his arrest in 2019 was listed as one of the influential young entrepreneurs recognised by Forbes.
Okeke was nabbed by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) which alleged he connived with certain individuals, some of whom remain at large, to defraud American companies and individuals over a period of at least four years.
One of his victims, Unatrac, a subsidiary of American heavy equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, lost $11 million in spurious wire transfers, court documents showed.
Agents of the international security agency obtained an arrest warrant and intercepted the fraudster in the airport while returning to Nigeria after a brief visit to the U.S. in 2019.
However, after months of denying his involvement in the crime before a federal judge in the U.S. and argument over jurisdiction, he pleaded guilty to the allegation of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and agreed to cooperate with American authorities last year June.
The guilty plea helped Okeke, who was initially indicted on two counts of computer and wire fraud, to secure the withdrawal of the second charge that carries lesser sentence and fines.
As part of his deal with the U.S. government, he would now enjoy immunity from prosecution on the same matter in the U.S. Eastern District of Virginia.
The district would also confirm the validity of the plea agreement in case Okeke is charged over the same offence in another jurisdiction. Although his sentencing was initially scheduled for October 22, 2020, it was postponed to Tuesday for reasons unknown.
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