Alleged $11 million wire fraud: FBI arrests Invictus Group’s Obinwanne Okeke
The Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Group, Obinwanne Okeke, who made it into Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 List in 2016, has been arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for conspiracy to commit computer fraud.
Okeke was arrested by the FBI over $11 million wire fraud after an Office365 account belonging to a steel company’s CEO was hacked. The suspect was said to have conspired with several individuals to access the CEO’s computers without authorization.
According to an Affidavit seen, Marshall Ward, a Special Agent of FBI, said Okeke’s intention, alongside other conspirators, was to initiate a fraudulent transfer of funds. Ward stated that Okeke should be charged for conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The Backstory: It was learnt that the FBI was contacted 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’s Chief 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 was directed 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.
Also, some of his friends are reportedly deleting his pictures on their social media pages as well in order not to be caught as his associates.
There have also been some revelations regarding his past activities which the FBI investigation did not bring to the fore. According to a Twitter user, @chikenyelum, who claimed to have crossed Okeke’s path during his University days, Okeke had been involved in several suspicious activities, and he was blocked by people who felt he wanted to dupe them on Facebook.
Checks by Nairametrics revealed that Okeke’s name is still visible on Invictus Group as the Executive Chairman. The company operates several business portfolios from Oil and Gas, Real Estate, to Agriculture and others. According to Forbes, he has 28 permanent and 100 part-time employees across nine companies.
The social media accounts of Okeke, who is popularly called Invictusobi, have since been deleted. He bagged a BA Degree in International Studies & Forensic Criminology, and a Master’s Degree in International Relations and Counter-Terrorism Studies. Nairametrics.com