-The FBI has reportedly released details of how Maxwell Peter, a Tamale-based cyber fraudster, and his gang defrauded US companies and citizens in a multi-million dollar scam
- Maxwell, popularly known as Tamale 'Sakawa King', with the help of others managed to perpetuate the fraud between 2012 and December 2017 when he was arrested
- So far eight people have been arrested with Maxwell and the other Ghana-based accomplices set to be extradited to face prosecution in the US
On Sunday, YEN.com.gh reported that Maxwell Peter, a Tamale-based cyber fraudster who was arrested last year over multi-million dollar scam was to be extradited to the USA in order to face charges filed in the Western District of Tennessee.
Maxwell, popularly known as 'Sakawa King' was reported at the time of his arrest to have, with the help of others, defrauded a US-based company of $10 million under the pretence of supplying the company with gold.
But later details have suggested that not only did Maxwell Peter defraud companies but individuals and that the initial amount quoted was rather short by five million dollars.
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This was sighted by YEN.com.gh in a reported on MyNewsGH.com which first broke the news of Maxwell's arrest and impending extradition.
According to the report, Maxwell and his cartel since 2012 had defrauded U.S. companies and citizens of approximately $15 million.
Citing new details from the United States Department of Justice released through The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the report indicated that eight individuals have so far been arrested for their roles in the scam.
The suspects include; Javier Luis Ramos Alonso, 28, a Mexican citizen residing in Seaside, California; James Dean, 65, of Plainfield, Indiana; Dana Brady, 61, of Auburn, Washington and Rashid Abdulai, 24.
The rest are, Maxwell Atugba Abayeta aka Maxwell Peter, 26, and Babatunde Martins, 62, of Ghana and Benard Emurhowhoariogho Okorhi, 39, a Nigerian citizen who resides in Ghana.
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Below are the full details of how the whole scam was executed as reportedly revealed by the FBI:
Martins, Maxwell, Bernard Okorhi, Victor Okorhi, and/or Miah would get the IP addresses of potentially vulnerable email servers and target them for intrusion. Using US-based IP addresses offered through VPN services, they would access a variety of websites, including credit card transaction processors and dating websites. Their role in the conspiracy also included originating the spoofed emails that will be explained later.
Martins, both Okorhis, Maxwell, Miah, Wumpini, Brady, Dean, Ojo, and others would open bank accounts for receiving fraudulently-obtained funds and sending them to other accounts controlled by their co-conspirators.
Because they had control of email accounts at Crye-Leike, they could tell when fund transfers related to real estate sales were scheduled to take place. They would then spoof the email addresses of those involved in the transactions and send instructions causing the financial transfers to be redirected to accounts controlled by members of the conspiracy.
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The funds were then laundered in a variety of ways, including using the funds to purchase goods, including construction materials, cell phones, and other electronics, and having those goods shipped to Ghana for use or resale to benefit the members of the conspiracy.
Maxwell, Miah, and both Okorhis created false identities and created dating profiles with false emails to correspond to their false dating profiles. Through these, they lured victims into online romance scams, gold-buying scams, and a variety of advanced fee fraud scams. These romance scam victims would carry out acts on behalf of the conspiracy, including forwarding counterfeit checks, receiving and shipping merchandise, and transferring proceeds via wire, US Mail, ocean freight, and express package delivery services.
Martins, Maxwell, Miah, and both Okorhis also purchased stolen PII, including credit card information, banking information, and IP addresses from underground forums specializing in the sale of such information.
By purchasing cell phones in the United State and activating Voice-over-IP (VOIP) accounts, the US telephone numbers could then be used by the conspirators in Africa, allowing them to appear to be making their calls in the United States.
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Some of the activity, in this case, dates back to 2012, when MIAH was already using fraudulently purchased credit cards and remote desktop protocol (RDP) to make online purchases that appeared to be in the United States. (Hackers compromise US computers and set them up to use RDP so that foreign criminals can use them to originate credit card purchases in places where the credit card was issued. By having, say, a Memphis Tennessee IP address, purchases made by a Memphis Tennessee credit card do not seem as suspicious)
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