Obinwanne Okeke: FBI Arrests Forbes Nigerian Under 30 For Alleged Internet Fraud
The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested Nigerian entrepreneur, Obinwanne Okeke of conspiracy to commit fraud running into the sum of 12 million US dollars.
This was disclosed in an affidavit made available to the press on Friday, August 15, by Marshall Ward, a special agent employed by the United States Department of Justice.
According to the information disclosed, the investigation was premised on a complaint lodged by representatives of Unatrac Holdings Limited for being victimized in the fraud.
The story has gone viral on social media with political commentator, Tolu Ogunlesi tweeting about it with the caption, “NEWS: The FBI is charging this young Nigerian ‘Entrepreneur’ with conspiracy to commit Computer Fraud and conspiracy to commit Wire Fraud.
Amount involved appears to be around ELEVEN MILLION US DOLLARS.
Obinwanne Okeke (born 9 November 1987) is a Nigerian entrepreneur and the founder of Invictus Group.
In 2016, he was named by Forbes as one of ‘30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 to Watch’.
He was also listed among 100 Most Influential Young Africans 2018 which included Davido, Falz, Ahmed Musa.
Obinwanne Okeke has been extensively involved in sourcing, structuring, implementing and monitoring various private equity investments in African and Australian markets and has over 10 years of investment experience.
Prior to founding Invictus Group, he assisted with founding and running other entrepreneurial establishments.
He holds a Bachelors and a master’s degree (MA) in International Relations and Counter-Terrorism (cum laude) from Monash University, Australia.
He has received several leadership honorary awards from local as well as international organizations
Related: Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation Donates N1bn To COVID-19 Relief Fund
Obi’s business interest span across a number of sectors, which include mainly real estate development, energy and construction. Invictus Group operates in three African countries, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia.
Recently, Obi’s focus has been on building energy-efficient houses that feed exclusively from solar power.
The Backstory: It was learnt that the FBI wascontacted by the representatives of Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and firm equipment, last year after they experienced a fraudulent wire transfer of $11 million through an email compromise.
The affidavit further disclosed that Unatrac’sChief Financial Officer received a phishing email containing a web link in April 2018, purportedly to the login page of the CFO’s online email account hosted by Microsoft Office365. Upon opening the link, he wasdirected to a phishing website crafted to imitate the legitimate Office365 login page.
Believing the page was real, the CFO provided his login details which were captured by an unknown intruder who controlled the spoofed web page. Between April 6 and April 20, 2018, the intruder accessed the CFO’s account at least 464 times, mostly from Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in Nigeria.
The report led to an investigation which began in July 2018 after the FBI reviewed the submitted documents.
Understanding phishing: Phishing is the fraudulent act of acquiring private and sensitive information such as credit card numbers and other credentials.
What this means for Okeke: Okeke had been celebrated as one of Nigeria’s most promising entrepreneurs after he was selected among Africa’s Most Promising Entrepreneurs by Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 For 2016. His shining light has, however,been dimming as many people have been distancing themselves from him. Bella Naija, a fashion publication, which did a feature on Okeke has since deleted the featured post. It is left to be seen if other media houses will follow suit.