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Justice Department Indicts 80 in BEC Scam Case

As frequently as fraud is reported, many incidents end with companies suffering heavy financial losses. Sometimes, a lack of security or employee training is to blame, but there are also times when it's truly hard to detect a fraudulent transaction. Recently, the United States experienced a win on the fraud front after 80 defendants were indicted for online scams against both companies and individuals.

According to The Hill, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California unsealed an indictment of 252 counts on Aug. 22, following the arrest of 14 defendants in the U.S.—11 located in Los Angeles—and many identified as Nigerian nationals. The indictments have charged all defendants for using business email compromise (BEC) scams in an attempt to steal $40 million from victims, resulting in losses of $10 million. U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in a statement that the defendants were able to hack "a company's email system, impersonate company personnel and direct payments to bank accounts that funnel money back to the fraudsters in Nigeria."

Romance scams were also used to trick individuals into sending money, Hanna said in his statement. In addition to those in the U.S., fraudsters also targeted businesses and individuals in China, Mexico and the United Kingdom.

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate

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Wednesday, 22 September 2021