35-year-old lived for 7 years as a cybercriminal and became a millionaire through fraud

A trio of three men ran a successful criminal enterprise. They stole money, distributed malware and committed fraud on a large scale. Now two of them were in court.

Who was convicted? Have you ever received an email from a Nigerian prince? Yes? Then you are probably one of the millions of people who have been scammed. We do not know whether Ebuka Raphael Umet, now 35, ever posed as a nobleman. But in any case, the Nigerian citizen stole millions of dollars with two accomplices, according to US authorities.

What have they done wrong? The list is quite extensive, but it can be summarized as follows:

  • Schemes to steal money via email (so-called Business Email Compromise (BEC))
  • Spreading malware
  • Attack on protected computers
  • Overall, Americans and US companies in particular suffered losses of around 1.5 million US dollars.

    Umet and his aide Franklin, 34, Ifeanyichukwu Okwonna (also from Nigeria) were found guilty by a jury. A third man, who prosecutors say completed the trio, has not yet been tried, more on that below.

    The events surrounding The Day Before were a borderline case of legal and illegal:

    The Day Before: Between Fraud and Incompetence

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    Two convicted, one remains

    Why does the main defendant face 102 years in prison? The 102 years are calculated from the combined maximum sentence for the accumulated crimes.

  • Conspiracy to commit Internet fraud: 27 years
  • Three cases of internet fraud: 60 years
  • Conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to protected computers: 5 years
  • Intentionally causing damage to protected computers: 10 years
  • Will he really be sentenced to 102 years in prison? Probably not, as these are maximum sentences and the judge must also take other aspects into account. However, both defendants will probably be able to reflect on their years of criminal activity in prison.

    Why were he and his accomplice brought to trial in the USA? The trio committed crimes against US citizens and US companies. In this case, the United States is trying to prosecute the accused in its own country if possible. In the case of Ebuka Raphael Umet and Franklin Ifeanyichukwu Okwonna, this was possible due to an extradition agreement between the US and Nigeria.

    What about the third member of the group? Mohammed Naji Mohammedali Butaish is a citizen of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. As such, he is difficult for the USA to target, as there is no agreement on the exchange or handover of suspects between the USA and the desert state.

    In another article, we will tell you about a completely different type of fraud, but one that is punished with unexpectedly draconian penalties in Turkey. Because what a candidate for a university career tried during a state exam will probably stay with him for the rest of his life: His attempt to cheat with a camera, cell phone and AI failed, but the police were certainly impressed.