US Department of Justice has criticized a Nigerian citizen for his involvement in a business email compromise (BEC) scheme that resulted in $1.5 million in damages.

The individual, identified as 35-year-old Ebuka Rafael Mati, along with two other suspects, utilized social engineering tactics and malicious software to carry out the fraudulent operation.

The BEC scheme entailed the use of phishing emails and deceptive practices to extort money or valuable information from companies and institutions. Mati reportedly began his involvement in this criminal activity in February 2016, receiving a phishing email template from one of his associates, Franklin Ifeenichukva Okvonna.

By 2018, the scammers managed to obtain significant sums, including $571,000 from a New York wholesale supplier and $400,000 from a Texas-based metal manufacturer. They later employed fake domains, VoIP numbers, and the gaming communication platform Discord for their operations.

In addition, the fraudsters began sending emails embedded with malware, granting them remote access to compromised computers.

Another individual, Mohammed Naji Mohammedali Butaish from Saudi Arabia, reportedly joined forces with the Nigerians in 2020, developing new malicious software for their criminal endeavors.

In 2021, the trio started utilizing harmful software created by Butaysh, which he allegedly sold to other interested parties besides his co-conspirators.

Although charges were filed against all three individuals in August 2022, Mati and Okvonna were only apprehended in January of this year as they resided in Nigeria. However, due to an extradition agreement with the United States, they could not evade legal consequences.

Meanwhile, Butaysh has not been arrested yet, and given that Saudi Arabia lacks an extradition treaty with the US, it remains uncertain if he will face legal proceedings.

Yesterday, Mati’s trial concluded with the jury finding him guilty on all counts, while Okvonna was convicted on May 20. Sentencing for Mati and Okvonna is scheduled for August 27 and September 3, respectively. Mati faces a maximum potential sentence of 102 years, though the actual penalty is expected to be less severe due to federal guidelines.

Notably, the Department of Justice

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