Less than a week after the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, clamped down on Nigerian Internet fraudsters, the country’s anti-graft police has revealed its role in the operations.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the EFCC, has now disclosed that it played a prominent role in the series of arrests that were executed in the U.S. by the FBI of several suspected Internet fraudsters.
In the affidavit that led to the crackdown, the FBI said the alleged criminal gang were responsible for several financial crimes that swindled Americans up to $1.1 billion.
The court affidavit accused the men and women of money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud, and bank fraud, wire fraud, money, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful and other financial crimes.
The EFCC said in the latest update, its first after the arrest of suspects as well as Obinwanne Okeke, that it recovered a total of $314,000 from several suspects. However, the agency said ‘N373 million had been traced to various commercial banks by the Lagos Zonal office of the Commission’.
An official of the EFCC who spoke at agency’s Lagos office that the EFCC was part of the sting operation that led to the raid in the U.S.:
“Over 80 cases are still under investigation from the EFCC-FBI joint operations.”
“From 2018 to date, the EFCC had launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds, which resulted in over 200 arrests, 130 convictions and recovery of a large number of exotic cars and properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime.”
“We had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the infamous Yahoo Yahoo boys culminating in various strategic raids and onslaught on their hideouts.
“Our efforts in this regard have recorded tremendous successes leading to a number of arrests, prosecutions and convictions,” he said.
It could be recalled that the EFCC signed a partnership agreement with the FBI in 2018. The agreement which was to strengthen the EFCC also included a joint operation against Internet fraudsters and cybercrimes emanating from Nigeria.
At the signing of the agreement, the head of FBI’s delegation led by George Piro, said:
“We hope to eradicate cybercrime despite the challenges by getting the right (qualified and talented) work force and station them in the United States of America as well as Nigeria.”
It is not clear the level of support the EFCC is getting from the FBI, but one thing is becoming crystal-clear, many Internet fraudsters could be meeting their waterloo as the latest success achieved in the crack down could help the EFCC in getting further support from Interpol and several other cybercrime police/authorities across the world.