A 40-year-old Nigerian man has been arrested for defrauding hundreds of victims through email scams. He is thought to have tricked them out of more than $60 million.
The Nigerian man was arrested in Port Harcourt in southern Nigeria with the help of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the international police organization Interpol said in a statement Monday.
“The 40-year-old Nigerian national, known as ‘Mike,’ is believed to be behind scams totalling more than $60 million (54 million euros) involving hundreds of victims worldwide,” the statement said.
The statement said that one victim had been tricked into paying out $15.4 million.
The arrested man is thought to have headed a network of at least 40 people working from Nigeria, Malaysia and South Africa. The network is believed to have provided malware and carried out the frauds, which included romance scams and compromising email accounts of businesses.
The frauds affected small to medium businesses around the world, including in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Thailand and the United States, according to the Interpol statement.
“Mike” is also said to have had money-laundering contacts in China, Europe and the US.
The suspect and a 38-year-old accomplice who was also arrested will face charges including hacking, conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.