EFCC Arrests another Wanted FBI Suspect over N120m Internet Fraud

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Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ilorin zonal office, has arrested a 38-year-old Nigerian, Festus Akinyemi Abiona, who was indicted by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of the United States over his alleged involvements in a N120million internet fraud.

Abiona had been on the wanted list of the Commission for more than eight months over the alleged fraud case before luck ran against him and was finally arrested in his hideout.

The anti-graft body was able to fish him out on February 6, 2020, in his duplex in Arepo, Ogun State, despite the fact that he has refused to step out of his house since he got the wind of the EFCC/FBI hunt for him for the past five months because of fear of being arrested.

In the petition dated July 10, 2019, the FBI alleged that the suspect was involved in business email compromise (BEC) and other computer enabled fraud.

The petition stated further that “in May 2016, the FBI received information that an actor or actors bypassed online security to steal money from retirement accounts held by an insurance company for public workers in the United States, which resulted in the loss of approximately $2,500, 000.”

Investigation into the case by the Commission revealed that the person behind the business email compromise is Festus Akinyemi Abiona and his syndicate members.

Millions of naira has been traced to his bank accounts and some of the emails used in perpetrating the fraud have been taken from the suspect.

The petition explained further that “the accounts contained numerous communications between Abiona and other criminals co-conspirators seeking to commit business email compromise, tax refund fraud, and other Computer enabled fraud.”

It was gathered further that the suspect, on sighting the operatives of the EFCC, flushed all his SIM cards in the toilet and destroyed all his Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) cards in order to destroy evidence.

Even though the suspect has refused to make statements since his arrest, the anti-graft body is making efforts to arraign him in court.

When contacted, the Head of Public Relations of EFCC in Abuja, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, who confirmed the arrest of the suspect to journalists in Ilorin yesterday, said: “The suspect would soon be arraigned in court.”