Invictus Obi: FBI Arrest Forbes-Celebrated Nigerian Business Tycoon for $11m Fraud

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…..How FBI tracked Obinwanne Okeke through his emails and Nairaland account.

SWITZERLAND, AUGUST 17 – The social media in Nigeria is on fire with reactions after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Nigerian entrepreneur, Obinwanne Okeke of conspiracy to commit fraud running into the sum of 12 million US dollars.

Okeke, known as Invictus Obi is a prominent young business tycoon that has once been listed by Forbes as one of Africa’s 100 most influential youths. He has now been exposed as a secret internet fraudster, or ‘Yahoo Boy’ as the Nigerians call it.

The details of Obi’s investigation and arrest was disclosed on an affidavit deposed to by one Marshall Ward, a special agent employed by the United States Department of Justice.

According to the information disclosed, the investigation was premised on a complaint lodged by representatives of Unatrac Holdings Limited for being victimized in the fraud.

Okeke was arrested by the FBI over $11m wire fraud after an account belonging to the CEO of Unatrac Holding Limited, a steel company, was hacked.

The suspect was alleged to have conspired with some other individuals to access the CEO’s computers without authorisation.

According to an affidavit signed by Marshall Ward, a Special Agent of FBI, representatives of Unatrac Holding Limited, contacted the agency after experiencing a fraudulent transfer of $11m from the firms account through a compromised email.

The affidavit reads, “Unatrac’s Chief Financial Officer received a phishing email containing a web link purportedly to the login page of the CFO’s online email account hosted by Microsoft Office365.  

“When the CFO opened the link, it instead led him to a phishing website crafted to imitate the legitimate Office365 login page.  

“Believing the page to be real, he entered his login credentials, 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.”

Posing as the CFO, the intruder then sent wire transfer requests to the Unatrac internal Finance team leading to several transfers amounting to $11 million (N3.9 billion).

The report led to an investigation, which began in July 2018 after the FBI reviewed the submitted documents and eventually led to the arrest of Okeke.

Below is the FBI agent’s report obtained by Today’s Echo from Instablog:

Today’s Echo gathers that Obinwanne Okeke was nominated for the All African Business Leaders Award for Young Business Leader (West Africa). The AABLA Award is the most prestigious award for African businessmen/entrepreneurs. Obi is nominated alongside three others.

He has appeared in several events in Nigeria and has been featured by some reputable youth empowerment outfits, including Risenetworks, owned by Toyosi Akerele.

Risenetworks said this about him:

” Obiwanne Okeke holds a master’s degree in International Relations and counter-terrorism from Monash University Australia. He is the founder of Invictus Group of Companies, an investment conglomerate that’s involved in construction, agriculture, oil and gas, renewable energy, telecoms, and real estate.

” While in Australia, he founded Literacy Africa International to raise “awareness about literacy problem among children in Africa.” He also sourced for donors of used children books across Australia and shipped them to disadvantaged kids across Africa. He saved some money, came back to Nigeria, and invested it in his business.

Obi’s business interest span across a number of sectors, which include mainly real estate development, energy and construction. Invictus Group operates in three African countries, Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia. Most recently, Obi’s focus has been on building energy efficient houses that feed exclusively from solar power.”

He accepted an offer from Forbes.com to be a Contributor for Forbes Magazine and published his first essay there in May 2017.

See some of the comments from Nigerians on Twitter:

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