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Fugitive Arrested After 3 Years on Charges Related to BEC Scheme

The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced the arrest of Njuh Valentine Fombe, who was wanted for his role in a business email compromise (BEC) scheme.

Indicted in 2019, Fombe was a fugitive for three years until he was arrested on August 6. He is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering, and with aggravated identity theft.

The man, aged 36, has been described by the DoJ as a foreign national who had been living in Beltsville, Maryland.

According to the indictment, between September 2016 and August 2018, Fombe conspired with others to conduct BEC fraud by sending false money wiring instructions to multiple organizations.

The fraudsters accessed email accounts and bank accounts without authorization, and used personally identifiable information to target victims with fake invoices.

Using the illegally obtained personal information, Fombe and his co-conspirators obtained counterfeit checks on behalf of their victims, along with details on the victims’ bank accounts, the DoJ says. The fraudsters targeted organizations in California, Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, and Tennessee.

As part of the scheme, the defendant and his co-conspirators allegedly registered fraudulent shell entities, managed drop accounts held in the name of these shell entities, and received proceeds of the BEC and check schemes.

Fombe faces up to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, up to 20 years for conspiracy to commit money laundering, and a mandatory two years prison sentence consecutive for aggravated identity theft.

The news of Fombe’s arrest comes around the same time that DoJ announced the extradition of three Nigerians from the UK to the US to face charges for their roles in multi-million-dollar BEC schemes.

Posing as construction companies, the three managed to defraud two universities in the US of more than $2 million, as part of two different BEC schemes.

Related: Three Nigerian BEC Fraudsters Extradited From UK to US

Related: Crackdown on BEC Schemes: 100 Arrested in Europe, Man Charged in US

Related: FBI: Losses From BEC Scams Surpass $43 Billion

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