Federal Bureau of Investigation says 74 arrested in global sweep targeting e-mail compromise schemes

74 Arrests in Business Email Compromise Takedown

Police arrested 74 suspects involved in an worldwide email scam bust.

"And local and state law enforcement partners on Federal Bureau of Investigation task forces across the country, with the assistance of multiple district attorney's offices, charged 15 alleged money mules for their roles in defrauding victims".

Why it matters: It seems that as long as there has been email, there have been email scammers. This "cyber-enabled financial fraud" - which originated in Nigeria, the same source of the notorious Nigerian prince email scams - fools victims into believing they're sending money to business partners, while they're really giving thousands of dollars away to thieves. Google and Facebook fell victim to a $100 million email scam thanks to an elaborate scheme from a suspect in Lithuania.

Today's statement also said that federal authorities seized almost $2.4 million and disrupted and recovered approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers.

The arrests were the culmination of "Operation Wire Wire", a six-month campaign that involved the DOJ, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Treasury, and the US Postal Inspection Service.

"This operation demonstrates the FBI's commitment to disrupt and dismantle criminal enterprises that target American citizens and their businesses", said FBI Director Christopher Wray.

In September 2016 and April 2017, the Omaha FBI office arrested two Nigerian subjects involved in fraud schemes in the US, and both remain in custody.

All told, 29 individuals were arrested in Nigeria, and three were apprehended in Canada, Mauritius and Poland.

In one case, the U.S. alleged that two Nigerians living in Dallas posed as a property seller when requesting a $246,000 wire transfer from a real estate attorney. The two are charged with laundering about $665,000, according to court records. One victim actually lost at least $440,000 from the email fraud.

The elderly are particularly vulnerable to such schemes, said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. "These are malicious and morally repugnant crimes".

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), these BEC schemes have resulted in losses of over $3.7 billion - and this number is only from the cases that have been reported to the IC3.

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