The FBI has filed a lawsuit alleging that Olalekan Jacob Ponle, who was arrested alongside Hushpuppi, defrauded millions of US companies.
Police authorities had previously released videos of how Hushpuppi and his 11 cronies were busting over a special cyber-fraud operation involving 1.9 million victims to the tune of N168 billion.
Arrested on June 10, it was said that the suspects were involved in crimes involving money laundering, hacking, impersonation, scamming, financial fraud and identity theft.
Ponle, also known as Woodbery, was expelled from the UAE to the U.S. alongside Hushpuppi, where he faces charges of conspiracy to commit fraud, one on which he risks imprisonment on 20 years.
In an affidavit submitted on Woodbery ‘s case, the FBI claimed that part of the amount he collected from the scams between January and September 2019 had been stashed away in a wallet named Bitcoin, BTC.
Bitcoin is a form of virtual currency not issued by any government, bank or firm but created and regulated by a decentralized peer-to – peer network of computer software.
Although BTC transactions are registered in the Bitcoin blockchain, it does not record the identities of individuals or organizations on the public ledger, rendering the network partially anonymous.
FBI said Woodbery put in place business email compromise, BEC, schemes that target accounts using computer manipulation techniques to cause unauthorized transfer of funds from victim companies.
Which include schemes that caused a Chicago-based corporation to lose $2,300,000 while another corporation was defrauded from moving a total of $15,268,000, part of which was stashed away in BTC wallet.
The submitted affidavit read:
“Preliminary blockchain analysis indicates that Ponle received at least 1,494.71506296 bitcoin related to these BEC schemes, valued at approximately $6,599,499.98.
“These schemes resulted in attempted and actual losses to victim companies in the tens of millions. Ponle directed money mules in the US to open bank accounts in the names of victim companies.
“Proceeds from BEC schemes, ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars, were then wired by unwitting employees to the bank accounts opened by Ponle’s mules.
“Ponle then instructed the mules to convert the proceeds to Bitcoin and to send the proceeds of the BEC schemes to a bitcoin wallet that he owned and operated.”
Woodbery is due to appear for trial on his arrest on July 9, in court.