The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday said that its collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has led to the arrest of 167 Nigerians for alleged computer related frauds.
The Executive Chairman of the commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, stated this in Lagos through his representative, Mr Mohammed Abba, the commission’s Director of Operations.
Magu said that the just concluded coordinated operations with the FBI tagged: ‘Operation Rewired’, also resulted in the recovery of the sum of 169,850 dollars as well as N92 million.
He also said that four exotic cars, plots of land in choice areas in Lagos and a property in Abuja were also recovered during the operations.
“Being an international model operation targeted at computer related frauds, the EFCC, FBI collaborative operations, spanning three weeks, was designed to intercept and interrupt the global network of internet fraudsters.
“Before now, we had relentlessly launched intensive investigative actions against the infamous ‘yahoo yahoo boys’, culminating into various strategic raids, onslaught on criminals hideout, prosecutions and convictions.
“Our efforts in collaborating and coordinating the EFCC, FBI joint operations in Nigeria recorded tremendous successes leading to a number of arrests, seizures and recoveries.
“The suspected fraudsters arrested in the course of the operation will be persecuted accordingly,” he said.
Magu, therefore, urged the media to continue to help in mobilising and educating all critical stakeholders on the need to support the fight against economic and financial crimes.
He said the society owes the youths that social responsibility of awakening their consciousness to the importance of a noble life devoid of crimes.
“I wish to state with a high sense of responsibility, there are no short cut to success other than hard work.
“The youths, therefore, must shun crime and its alluring temptations, because it will always end in sorrow and regrets.
“Now that the infamous internet crimes have received global attention and concern, there will be no hiding place for fraudsters,” he said.
Magu said that the EFCC would continue to partner with the FBI and other international law enforcement agencies, especially in the area of exchange of information and actionable intelligence.
He said that this would reduce the menace of cyber crime and other computer based frauds in the country.
Also speaking, Mr Uche Ahamdi, Legal Attaché, FBI, Abuja said that IC3; FBI’s global reporting internet fraud body received 20,373 Business E-mail Compromised (BEC) complaints with losses of over 1.2 billion dollars.
“The FBI and law enforcement partners in the U.S. and abroad implemented a strategy to target and disrupt these scammers and illicit actors and dismantle international fraudulent BEC transactions.
“The sweep ran from May through September during a four week period primarily in the U.S., Nigeria, Ghana, Turkey, France, Italy, UK, Japan, Kenya and Malaysia.
“This was done in accordance to the efforts to dismantle international fraudulent BEC transactions and pursue organised criminal enterprises that target and harm American businesses,” he said.
Ahamdi said that the global goal of the operation was to send a message to all who participated in the BEC scheme that they would be caught and prosecuted regardless of where they were located.
“The operation leveraged resources from across the FBI, which enabled it to bring the sum total of FBI cyber organised crime and money laundering expertise to bear on dismantling the criminal enterprise.
“The surge of resources for this operation will serve as a centre piece for future cyber criminal strategy in moving forward,” he said.
Ahamdi thanked the EFCC for their continued and sustained partnership in the fight to end cyber crime across the globe.