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Busting a Million-Dollar Scheme

Our ability to control the world around us through our decisions is unmatched to say the least. Unfortunately, though, we haven’t always used this power in good faith. There have been enough cases for us to know that having such authority is far from a perfect scenario. Hence, to neutralize the said power, we have set-up dedicated regulatory bodies that are responsible for getting everyone to follow a uniform set of rules, thus bringing some much-needed order into the picture. The idea has proven to be an effective one, but it had to through its fair share of challenges as well, with the biggest one presented by technology. After being called out time and again for imposing somewhat ‘unreasonable’ regulations, the regulatory bodies were left in dust when companies started using technology to skirt around the rules. In response, the governing forces had no answer whatsoever, and, as a result of it, the order initially brought in by them began to dissipate. However, they were able to catch up with the trend before it was too late, but that’s not all what they did. The regulators made an intelligible decision to use technology for better supervision, and once it was a reality, any gap which might have persisted between them and the companies was closed. Even though it didn’t quite stop the dodgy activities from happening altogether, the use of tech-driven tools did expand the radius of regulators’ vision, and the benefits of that were observed in a recent case of money laundering and fraud.

The Federal Grand Jury has officially charged three men said to be involved in a business email compromise (BEC) conspiracy. As per the details provided, the three men, Onyewuchi Ibeh, 21, of Bowie, of Maryland, Jason Joyner, 42, of Washington, DC and Mouaaz Elkhebri, 30, of Alexandria, Virginia, had ravaged firms from throughout the world with phishing attacks. Once they gained control of employees’ email accounts, they would stay dormant until a chance at exploitation arrived. More often than not, it would be substituting suppliers’ invoice with their own masterfully-crafted request for payment. As a way of looking credible, the felons also used to add duplicated domains into their request along with other relevant details of the supplier.

If we are talking numbers, then according to the Department of Justice, at least five businesses lost over $1.1 million to this scheme. However, in their attempt to remove any direct links of these transactions to them, the conspirators laundered the money through a dozen bank accounts. Upon digging into the other facts about this case, it can be gleaned that each conspirator had a different role in carrying out the scheme. For instance, Ibeh used to handle the money laundering process, while Joyner used to withdraw the laundered money in cash before delivering it to his partners. Elkhebri, on the other hand, leveraged his position as a bank employee to open accounts in the name of other two conspirators and the victims. From what we know, the scheme was active between January 2018 and March 2020.

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