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Invictus Obi faces 20 years jail term in US after pleading guilty in $11m fraud

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 OBINWANNE Okeke, also known as Invictus Obi who was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at Dulles International Airport while absconding the US over his involvement in $11 million internet fraud has pleaded guilty to the crime.

He admitted guilt to a two-count charge of forgery and fraud while he appeared before a court in the Eastern District of Virginia, for engaging in cybercrime through fraudulent wire transfer instructions in a massive, coordinated, business e-mail compromise scheme.

The final decision on the case is set for October 22 and he could spend 20 years maximum in an American prison taking into account the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

“Okeke, 32, operated a group of companies known as the Invictus Group between 2015 and 2019, and was accused of fleecing unsuspecting victims of over $11 million,” the court documents read.

Judge Robert Krask, the presiding Magistrate accepted his plea on counts bordering on fraud, forgery, among others which were announced on the website of the US Attorney’s Office.

Okeke and his co-conspirators had engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment.

The conspirators obtained and compiled the credentials of hundreds of victims, including victims in the Eastern District of Virginia.

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In April 2018, a Unatrac executive was victim to a phishing email that allowed the conspirators to capture login credentials and sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices.

Okeke participated in the effort to victimize Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totalling nearly $11 million, funds which were transferred overseas.

In 2016, Okeke was celebrated by Forbes as one of Africa’s “most outstanding 30 entrepreneurs under the age of 30.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has also confiscated Okeke’s assets and monies in Nigeria to the tune of N280.6 million which was allegedly traced to the bank accounts of Invictus Oil and Gas Limited and Invictus Investment Limited he owned.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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