If you are tasked with handling company finances, you may want to double- and triple-check the next time you seemingly get an email from your CEO asking you to wire company money elsewhere.
According to the Dallas Morning News, one Nigerian man was able to scam several U.S. companies out of millions of dollars by posing as the CEO, assuming that things would get done pretty quickly without question.
Amechi Colvis Amuegbunam achieved this by creating email accounts that made it look as if he were a company executive and then asked employees handling accounts to wire money wherever he wanted, most often to foreign banks.
Last week, he was sentenced to 46 months in prison for scamming more than 10 victims out of $3.7 million. And he actually got off pretty lucky. He originally faced up to 30 years if convicted by a jury, but his lawyer argued in court documents that Amuegbunam did not have any previous criminal record and was not a danger to society.
In addition to his prison stint, Amuegbunam will have to pay $615,555 in restitution for his use of this scam, known as a “business email compromise scheme,” which the Morning News notes has become a crime of choice for some organized crime groups in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, according to the FBI.
Amuegbunam was arrested in 2015 in Baltimore and pleaded guilty back in March to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The 30-year-old was living in the U.S. on a student visa at the time of his crimes. His lawyer, Ezekiel Tyson, said that he was pleased with the sentence that his client received.
“Mr. Amuegbunam has grown tremendously as a person and as a man throughout the process of this criminal case,” Tyson said. “He is absolutely one of the most intelligent and creative individuals I have ever represented.”
Amuegbunam will be deported back to Nigeria after finishing up his sentence, Tyson confirmed. Tyson said that Amuegbunam had plans to become a farmer and produce organic pesticides, going along a different path from the sophisticated scam that he pulled off.
“I expect once he puts his intelligence, creativity and drive towards legitimate enterprises, he will have a very positive future,” Tyson said. “Mr. Amuegbunam also plans to do his best to repay the restitution he owes to the victim companies.”
Read more at the Dallas Morning News.