Federal Bureau of Investigation arrests 74 email scammers in worldwide operation

US authorities arrest 29 Nigerians others for email scams

The US has arrested 74 people including almost 30 in Nigeria, as part of an effort to combat email scam artists.

US authorities said on Monday that 74 people had been arrested in a global crackdown on email fraud scams, in which criminals have attempted to steal billions of dollars from businesses and individuals.

According to the Justice Deparment, BEC schemes often target employees with access to company finances, as well as businesses that regularly make wire transfer payments.

They largely targeted elderly victims, businesses, employees and real estate purchases, authorities said. Google and Facebook fell victim to a $100 million email scam thanks to an elaborate scheme from a suspect in Lithuania.

The effort, known as "Operation Wire Wire", led to the arrests of 42 suspects in the US, 29 in Nigeria and others in Canada, Mauritius and Poland, as well as the seizure of almost $2.4 million.

"The operation also resulted in the seizure of almost $2.4m, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers, " a statement by the United States department of justice said. Additionally, a Nigerian involved in romance fraud who has caused significant losses to individuals in Nebraska and elsewhere has been arrested in Poland by the Polish Police Central Bureau of Investigation.

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Operation WireWire, a coordinated law enforcement effort by the U.S. Department of Justice, was conducted over a six-month period.

I suspect these arrests will force BEC to shift further overseas, and if so, the cooperation across jurisdictions will be a necessary example to follow if law enforcement and banks wants to keep up the pressure.

The Justice Department charged 23 people in Florida for laundering at least $10 million from email scams, targeting several companies and a law firm, according to court documents.

"Fraudsters can rob people of their life's savings in a matter of minutes", Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement.

"The devastating effects of BEC and EAC scams on domestic victims impact not only the individual but the global economy", FBI Houston Special Agent Perrye K. Turner said. "These are malicious and morally repugnant crimes".

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