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$11m fraud: US court sentences Obiwanne Okeke to 10 years in prison

Obinwanne Okeke, more popularly known as Invictus Obi, has been sentenced to 10-years in jail for committing $11 million internet fraud.

Okeke was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at Dulles International Airport while leaving the US in 2019.

Rebecca Smith, chief district judge of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, delivered the judgement on Tuesday.

Although his sentencing was initially scheduled for October 22, 2020, it was postponed to Tuesday for reasons yet to be ascertained.

Smith said the 33-year-old was jailed for his involvement in a computer-based intrusion fraud scheme that resulted in known losses of $11 million to his victims.

“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,” Raj Parekh, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said.

“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.”

According to court documents, Okeke operated a group of companies known as the Invictus Group based in Nigeria and elsewhere.

As part of the scheme, Okeke and others engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment.

Okeke participated in the effort to victimize Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totaling nearly $11 million, funds which were transferred overseas.

As part of his deal with the U.S. government, he would 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 Mr Okeke is charged over the same offence in another jurisdiction.

The Nigerian was once listed by Forbes as one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans.

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