Tuesday 7 February 2023

US indicts Nigerian of stealing varsity’s $1.4m



A Federal Bureau of Investigation’s agent, Mr Ayotunde Solademi, on Tuesday told an Ikeja Special Offences Court how one Kolawole Erinle 

involved in a cybercrime allegedly defrauded Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in the United States of $1.4m.
 
The witness, a Foreign Service national investigator for the FBI, Office of the Legal Attaché in the US Consulate in Nigeria, said the university became a victim of spoofing, a form of cybercrime attack that targets businesses using forged sender addresses.
 
Erinle is standing trial alongside his firm, Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited, on a three-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, and obtaining money under false pretence preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
 
The defendant however pleaded not guilty to the charge.
 
Solademi, the first prosecution witness, led in examination in chief by the EFCC counsel, Temitope Banjo, told the court that KCUMB underwent a major construction project with a construction company called J.E.Dunn in Kansas City sometime in 2019 and the university made a wired transfer of approximately $1.41m to an account that it believed belonged to J. E. Dunn.
 
He said, “On March 27, 2019, J.E. Dunn contacted KCUMB asking about the payment for the pending invoices and KCUMB replied that the payment has been made.
“On March 28, 2019, Dunn confirmed that they did not receive payment.
 
“It was later found out by both parties that somebody changed the wire transfer details for Dunn using a fake email domain jedunn.org whereas the real domain name for the construction company is jedunn.com.
 
“After this, the case was reported to the FBI and an investigation carried out showed that the email account of Dunn’s Chief Financial Officer was spoofed.”
 
He said the wire transfer of $1.41m made by KCUMB entered into a Bank of America account with an account number ending with 6843 on March 5 2019.
He added, “On that same day, somebody accessed that account and wired $850,000 to a Diamond Bank account (now Access Bank) ending with 4471.
 
“The next day which was March 6, 2019, somebody still accessed the same Bank of America account and wired $560,000 to the same Diamond Bank account in Nigeria.”
The witness told Justice Ramon Oshodi that the investigation showed that the BoA account had an account named Edada Autoparts and Machinary Spareparts Inc with an address in Texas.
He said the Nigerian end of the investigation traced the Diamond Bank account that the money was wired into to Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited, which belonged to the first defendant.
 
“It was also discovered that the name of the person who opened the Bank of America account is Edward Dada, who is still at large.
“Further investigation also revealed that the address that was listed in the account opening package of the Bank of America’s account was fake, and there is nobody with the name Edward Dada as a resident in the United States.
“Investigations in Nigeria also revealed that the owner of Rinde-Remdex Nigeria Limited was the first defendant and it was discovered that the only transaction that took place in the Bank of America account was this particular transaction,” he stated.
He added that after all the findings, the FBI sent a petition to the EFCC for further investigation.
The petition which was written by the FBI to EFCC was admitted as exhibit following no objections from the defence counsel, Lawal Pedro (SAN).
 
Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, the witness maintained that he carried out part of the investigation.
However, the judge adjourned the case until Friday for continuation of the trial.
 

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