Nigerian national identified as Ringleader of International Investment Scam
December 19, 2018 | Brainwave Science
A Nigerian national, Osondu Victor Igwilo, has been charged by the US Justice Department as the mastermind of an international advance-fee scheme that allegedly involved false promises of investment funding by impersonating U.S bank officials and trap victims through internet around the world.
Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, US Attorney Ryan Patrick of the Southern District of Texas, Special Agent in Charge Perrye K Turner of the FBI’s Houston Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Robert Smolich of the US Department of State Office of Inspector General made the announcement after the identification of the leader of the criminal network.
A complaint filed in Southern District of Texas in December 2016 charges Osondu Igwilo with wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. According to the complaint filed, he was the leader of a criminal network of “catchers,” who sent phishing emails to potential victims falsely offering investment funding on behalf of BB&T Corporation. Igwilo have recruited several US citizens over the internet to pose as “representatives” of Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) and JPMorgan Chase (Chase) executives and convince victims through in person meet to make wire payments to bank accounts in the United States on the false belief that the payments were necessary to effectuate the investment agreements.
Proceeds of the scheme were allegedly laundered through U.S. bank accounts and diverted back to the scheme’s perpetrators in Nigeria. The scheme allegedly resulted in losses of more than $7 million from victims in more than 20 countries. According to US Department of Justice reports published in February, the law enforcement agencies have seized a house in Richmond, a 2014 Land Rover Range Rover and approximately $200,000 in cash, all directly traceable to victims’ payments.
Eight other individuals have also been charged in various cities following the investigation conducted by the FBI and the Department of State Office of the Inspector General.
The international advance-fee scheme is widely opted by several criminal networks as a con scheme. The schemes are also referred as “BEC scam” which is a form of cyber-crime where the perpetrators pose as the representatives of famous companies to establish email communications with the victims and then trick them into transferring funds to false documented bank accounts.
These schemes have been the most damaging type of cyber-crime in the US and across the world in recent years. The law enforcement agencies fail to recognize such schemes or perpetrator unless prior complaint is made till then millions are lost, and thousands of victims suffers. According to the FBI Internet Crime Report, these schemes have increased at unprecedent rate in the past few years. More than US$3 billion has been lost to these scams over the last three years, with more than 22,000 victims worldwide.
Another challenge for law enforcement agencies in these situations is that most of these schemes originated in Nigeria but operates on world scale. These funds generated through scams are mostly used to finance crime or terror organization which have strong roots in African continent. Law enforcement groups around the world, including the FBI, Interpol, and Canadian and Italian agencies, have successfully indicted and arrest various kingpin scammers. But extensive jurisdictional issues make it an especially difficult problem for law enforcement. And many victims have little recourse once their money is gone. For example, in this case using the existing conventional tools it took two years for the elite law enforcement agencies such as FBI and others to recognize the mastermind behind the scam.
It is understood that Nigeria is the biggest and most fearless player in online scam. Nigerian scam comes in many forms including BEC scam, 419 scam (also known as the Nigerian Prince scam), lottery scam, dating scam, seeking money for studies or sick relatives and the list continues. The scammers always find new ways to extract money from individual through the means of technology and emotions. It is impossible to track every bank account and social accounts.
Igwilo’s case demonstrates precisely why the law enforcement agencies need an advanced and fool-proof forensic technology in order to crack open cyber-crime cases in short duration and use the same technology to reveal the information suspect’s brain possesses within an hour. Existing investigative tools used by law enforcement agencies at present cannot solve these cases because of limited evidence. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that such an advanced neuroscience technology which can tap inside the human brain has been already launched by Brainwave Science and it’s called iCognative. This technology supports law enforcement agencies distinguish between the perpetrator and innocent and further reveal accurate crime-related information necessary to solve this case without any necessity of physical evidence.
iCognative is the most logical and reliable technology for law enforcement personnel to find substantial evidence and intelligence concealed inside the suspect’s brain. iCognative technology provides accurate and scientific means for law enforcement personnel to tap inside the human brain and reveal what specific crime-related information the suspect possesses with over 99% accuracy within an hour. If FBI and other law enforcement agencies had utilized iCognative in the investigation’s beginning to identify the mastermind of this international advance-fee scheme, it would merely take this technology few months to reveals the identification of mastermind and other associates.
The cyber-crime cases are most complex cases of all due to limited availability of evidence and all the necessary information is stored in suspect’s brain as a soft-copy. Each day counts as someone somewhere could lose the money in the false faith.
The iCognative is a one-of-a-kind technology which completely understand the complexity of these cases and can very well act as a sure shot to identify the mastermind and support law enforcement agencies to stop such scam in the future. In the case of Igwilo, law enforcement agencies can conduct a 45-minutes iCognative test that can determine what specific information the suspects are trying to conceal from the investigator. Information such as: name of impersonating U.S bank officials, financial details to track the bank account, details about the bank holder, details about victims, motive behind the scam, identification of co-conspirators, details of any ongoing scam within US or other country, etc., would be easily available to the law enforcement personnel to investigate once the test is completed. All the investigative details related to previous Nigerian scam is uploaded into the iCognative system protocol. The system records and analyzes the brainwave responses when case related and confidential information (called Stimuli) is flashed to the suspect on a digital screen and determine with over 99% accuracy what information the suspects possess.
Brainwave Science’s iCognative is the only available medium through which international advance-fee scheme network can be eliminated. iCognative can be the best weaponry for law enforcement agencies in their battle with cyber-crime which gets complicated every day. The fight against cybercrime requires innovative defense and iCognative leads the way towards this much-needed advancement.