Two members of a London-based Nigerian cyber crime group have been jailed after stealing more than £1m.
Emmanuel Mmaduike and Olawale Kashimawo, both 31, spent the money on “a lavish lifestyle”, according to the National Crime Agency.
The pair hired a helicopter and drove “flash cars”, and “posed for photographs of themselves with wads of money, expensive watches and drinking champagne”.
The duo was based in south-east London and obtained thousands of business email addresses and passwords – which they used to divert money from legimate companies’ accounts to themselves.
Mmaduike’s role was to hack victim email, fraudulently access it, impersonate the account owner and alter invoices to direct payment to mule bank accounts run by Kashimawo, of Claycorn Court, Esher, Surrey.
His collaborator, Kashimawo subsequently laundered the cash by arranging withdrawals and international bank transfers carried out by other fraudsters on his instruction.
The pair are believed to have committed more than £1m worth of fraud and money laundering between April 2015 and November 2015.
Known officially as “business email compromise” (BEC), the attack involves the criminal impersonating a senior executive after gaining access to the company’s corporate email account and attempting to convince the victim to transfer funds.
According to the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, BEC scams are one of the fastest growing forms of cyber crime.
Mmaduike was jailed in March 2017 for six years and 10 months after he admitted money laundering and fraud.
He also admitted perverting the course of justice in relation to a sham marriage to a Dutch national.
On May 17, 2018, at Kingston Crown Court, Kashimawo was also jailed for six years and nine months after admitting two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering.