How social media footprints led to the arrest of Nigerian billionaire in US

Two years ago, Obinwanne Okeke was celebrated by business magazine Forbes—as one of the leading 30 Nigerian entrepreneurs below 30-years. He was 28 then, with his fingers in oil and gas, real estate, and energy.

Two years forward, the CEO of Invictus Group is being busted for phishing around 464 times in the account of a chief financier officer Unatrac, of a heavy-equipment company in the UK.

At least $12m has been wired off by Okeke and his collaborators, according to FBI’s findings released in affidavit Friday in the US..

The bureau launched the investigation about a year ago when it received a petition from the company.

Marshall Ward, a Special Agent of FBI in charge of the investigation, said Okeke’s intention, alongside other conspirators, was to initiate a fraudulent transfer of funds.

Unatrac’s CFO said he 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 website, a mock copy of the legitimate Office365 login page. There he willingly submitted his login details to the fraudsters.

Between April 6 and April 20, 2018, Okeke and co. browsed the CFO’s account more than 400 times—from Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in Nigeria, all linked to [email protected].

Google would later confirm the owner of the address had registered other domain names for fraudulent purposes in Nigeria.

According to Ward, Okeke would be charged with conspiracy to commit computer fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Before now, the Nigerian entrepreneurs had been moving in the circles of big businesses, enjoying the limelight accompany various recognition of his genius—he read international studies and forensic criminology at bothe the BSc and MSc levels—in business.

In its celebratory edition in 2018, Forbes pictured the 28-year-old under a shower—of dollars.

The magazine is taking fire now for stimulating unhealthy thirst in Africans with its rating of business success without thorough investigation.