Four members of a ‘Romance and business email compromises fraud gang’ believed to have its base in Ghana are each likely to serve 20 years in prison in the United States.
Another member of the gang faces five years in jail, making the total prison sentences for all five of them 85 years.
The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey S. Berman, made this known when he commended the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) for the assistance it offered in investigating an alleged $10 fraud case involving business email compromise and romance scams targeting elderly people in the US that the five suspects are associated with.
According to a document from Attorney Berman to EOCO sighted by DAILY GUIDE between 2014 and 2018, the five suspects, namely Prince Nana Aggrey, Abdul Rashid Masoud, Mubarak Baturi, Tourey Ahmed Rufai and Muftau Adamu, succeeded in defrauding US businesses and citizens to the tune of over $10 million through email compromises and romance scam.
They were said to be members of a criminal enterprise called “The Enterprise” based in Ghana that committed series of business email compromises and romance scams against individuals and businesses located across the United States, including in the Southern District of New York.
According to Attorney Berman, Adamu, 30, Rufai, 33, Aggrey, 43, and Baturi, 29, all of the Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
He said Masoud, 36, of the Bronx, New York, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to receive stolen money which carries a maximum sentence of five years.
“Adamu is scheduled to be sentenced on June 7, 2019, at 10:30 am. Rufai is scheduled to be sentenced on April 12, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Masoud is scheduled to be sentenced on April 19, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Baturi and Aggrey are scheduled to be sentenced on May 10, 2019 at 10:30 am and 2:00 pm respectively. Each of the defendants will be sentenced by Judge Cote,” the document said.
The objective of the Enterprise’s business email compromises fraud scheme, according to the document, was to trick businesses into wiring funds into accounts controlled by the Enterprise.
DAILY GUIDE understands that first, members of the Enterprise created email accounts with slight variations of email accounts used by employees of a victim company or third parties engaged in business with a company to spoof or impersonate those employees or third parties.
The fake email accounts accordingly were specifically designed to trick other employees of the company with access to the company’s finances into thinking the instructions to wire money to certain bank accounts and also included fake authorization letters for the wire transfers that contained forged signatures of company employees.
By using this deceptive method, the Enterprise sought to trick victims into transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars to bank accounts.
The victims are said to be under the control of legitimate recipients of funds as part of normal business operations when in fact the bank accounts were under the control of memorial of the Enterprise, including Adamu, Rufai, Aggrey, Masoud, Baturi.
Again, the Enterprise accordingly conducted the romance scams by using electronic messages sent via email, text messaging or online dating websites that deluded the victims, many of whom were vulnerable men and women over the age of 60 and who lived alone.
They tricked them into believing the victims were in romantic relationships when in fact the correspondents were members of the Enterprise using fake identities.
By Melvin Tarlue| Daily Guide Network