Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Phisher Faces Up To 50 Years For Role In $1.5 Million Scam

Obaygbona convicted of defrauding customers of Chase, Bank of America, ADP in targeted phishing scheme

An Atlanta man faces a stiff sentence this week following his conviction for the role he played in a phishing scam that defrauded customers of several major financial institutions out of some $1.5 million.

According to a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney's office in New Jersey, Osarhieme Uyi Obaygbona, 32, was convicted June 27 of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft, and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to protected computers .

Obaygbona faces a maximum total penalty of 50 years in prison and fines of $1 million, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is currently scheduled for October 17.

In a week-long trial, the prosecution stated that Obaygbona, Marvin Hill, and Alphonsus Osuala were provided with stolen personal information by Waya Nwaki, who received them from Karlis Karklins, a Latvian national who worked with defendant Charles Umeh Chidi and others to deploy phishing websites across the Internet.

According to court documents, Obaygbona, Nwaki, Hill, Osuala, and others used the stolen identifiers to make unauthorized withdrawals from victims’ accounts. Some of the stolen identifiers were used to create fake driver’s licenses, with which conspirators could impersonate victims at bank branches, including Chase Bank and Bank of America. The scheme also used the stolen identifiers to gain access to the victims’ online accounts, where Obaygbona, Nwaki, and Hill could view victim signatures on check images and then forge checks and withdrawal slips.

In a second variation of the scheme, Karklins used stolen identifiers to gain access to payroll accounts at ADP, the New Jersey-based payroll processor, prosecutors said. Karklins and others added fake employees to victim companies’ payrolls and then caused paychecks to be issued to those fake employees. Karklins, Nwaki, Hill, and others then withdrew the fraudulent payroll amounts using both stolen identifiers and unwitting intermediaries ("mules").

As part of the scheme, more than $300,000 in fraudulent payroll was wired to defendant Olaniyi Jones, a Nigerian national who impersonated a European woman interested in romantic relationships to dupe mules into wiring the proceeds of the scheme overseas, court records state.

Chase Bank, Bank of America, ADP, and Branch Bank & Trust Co. lost a total of $1.5 million to the fraud ring.

Nwaki and Hill have both pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing before Judge Martini. Osuala is in custody on unrelated federal charges in Georgia. Jones is detained in Nigeria pending extradition. Karklins and Chidi are at large.

The scope of these phishing attacks hit consumers hard, but businesses should not overlook the fact that many attackers are targeting enterprise users, noted Aaron Higbee, CTO and co-founder of PhishMe, which offers a service that helps users learn to recognize and avoid phishing attacks.

"I worry that a majority of our workforce may think that all phishing attacks are aimed at their personal banking accounts," Higbee said. "The message about targeted and crafty spear phishing emails heading to work email inboxes gets lost in the noise of phishing stories -- and readers miss that just clicking a dangerous link can compromise their work computer."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Add a Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
Hacking It as a CISO: Advice for Security Leadership
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/10/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-16137
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
** UNSUPPORTED WHEN ASSIGNED ** A privilege escalation issue in Cisco Unified IP Conference Station 7937G 1-4-4-0 through 1-4-5-7 allows attackers to reset the credentials for the SSH administrative console to arbitrary values. Note: We cannot prove this vulnerability exists. Out of an abundance of ...
CVE-2020-16138
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
** UNSUPPORTED WHEN ASSIGNED ** A denial-of-service issue in Cisco Unified IP Conference Station 7937G 1-4-4-0 through 1-4-5-7 allows attackers to remotely disable the device until it is power cycled. Note: We cannot prove this vulnerability exists. Out of an abundance of caution, this CVE is being ...
CVE-2020-16139
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
** UNSUPPORTED WHEN ASSIGNED ** A denial-of-service in Cisco Unified IP Conference Station 7937G 1-4-4-0 through 1-4-5-7 allows attackers restart the device remotely through sending specially crafted packets. Note: We cannot prove this vulnerability exists. Out of an abundance of caution, this CVE i...
CVE-2020-16186
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
A stored Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Firco Continuity 6.2.0.0 allows remote unauthenticated attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML through the username field of the login page.
CVE-2020-8904
PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
An arbitrary memory overwrite vulnerability in the trusted memory of Asylo exists in versions prior to 0.6.0. As the ecall_restore function fails to validate the range of the output_len pointer, an attacker can manipulate the tmp_output_len value and write to an arbitrary location in the trusted (en...