August 28, 2019

USA: FBI Arrested Forbes 100 Most Influential Young Africans 2018 For $12 Million Fraud. Legitimate Business, Fraudulent Income. How He Reverse-Engineered The Fraud Cyber Scam Model.

RootsTV Nigeria published on Aug 22, 2019: How Social Media Aided Invictus Obi’s Arrest by FBI. A breakdown of how the FBI investigated and arrested Forbes inspirational young entrepreneur, Obinwanne Okeke.

Omasi Talks TV published on Aug 18, 2019: Obinwanne Okeke popularly known as “Invictus Obi” having a champagne bath at Club Hush in SA. A video has surfaced showing Self Acclaimed Nigerian Entrepreneur and billionaire, Obinwanne Okeke popularly known as “Invictus Obi” having a champagne bath on his birthday at Club Hush in South Africa, A while back Obi was featured on The Cover of Forbes Magazine and was named the CEO of Africa's most Innovative Investment Company but everything has now gone sour for him as a few days back. He was arrested by the FBI for a $11 million cyber scam, Exposing the fact that all his money was gotten from Yahoo Yahoo!
It's looks like he'll be spending the rest of his life in prison now. I had to look up the meaning of Yahoo Yahoo. I have never heard that phrase before. This is what it means:

The Conversation 7/26/16: Many undergraduates in Nigerian universities dabble in internet fraud. Nicknamed “yahoo-yahoo” after the international web portal and search engine, this perfidy has become a way of life for the young con-artists. Many of these fraudsters – dubbed “yahoo-boys” – have become filthy rich.
written by Tahir Sherriff
Monday August 19, 2019

There is a beer parlor joke in Nigeria that roughly translates to “the real billionaires in Nigeria are very quiet. People don’t know them”.

The joke is not far fetched. A toxic political environment, a high level of insecurity, and a history of documentation challenges are more than enough incentive for wealthy people to hide their identity. But the biggest fact is that the source of their income is usually illegal.

Illegally gotten wealth is not abnormal in the world. People simply keep quiet about it. A popular quote along this line is attributed to Balzac: ‘Behind every great fortune is a crime’ which somewhat highlights that these practices transcend Nigeria. In other words, governments around the world understand and apply these models. A combination of internet fraudsters, advanced fee fraud artists, phony international bank accounts, tsunami-sized banking frauds, kidnapping rings, unaccountable crude exports, lavishing politicians — these stacks, coupled with a long and incriminating history of rogue behavior by Nigerians across the world, corroborates a global narrative that Nigerians are criminals.

But there’s one reason why the story of Obiwanne Okeke is an outlier model when compared to corrupt practices by Nigerians, within and outside the country. Here is a young man with a brilliant academic and career trajectory. A foreign-trained Nigerian with access above the average Nigerian life. A 28-year-old, who picked the interest of big media organizations such as the BBC and Business Insider, got listed by Forbes 30 under 30 billionaires, gave TEDx Talks at Yaba, and spoke at the London School of Economics Africa Summit in Israel.

The ‘what’ of the Invictus Obi scenario is not new, the ‘how’ is

High-level financial fraud by Nigerians isn’t new, nor is their complexity or intensity. In December 2013, Tobechi Enyinna Onwuhara after a financial fraud history of over $38million was sentenced to 70 months imprisonment in the United States. He was a fugitive for four years, and was featured in “America’s Most Wanted”. The case was investigated by the FBI, the United States Secret Service, and the Alexandria Police Department, the U.S. Marshals Service, and Australian Federal Police, who located Onwuhara in Sydney and helped coordinate the recovery of evidence and the defendant’s extradition to the United States.

In 1995 former Union Bank director and advanced fee-fraud artist Emmanuel Nwude defrauded Nelson Sakaguchi, a Director at Brazil’s Banco Noroeste based in São Paulo, of $242 million. Nwude posed as the then Nigerian Central Bank Governor. He allegedly sold a non-existent airport to Banco Noroeste, an incident that has been listed as the third-largest crime in banking history.

What is most disrupting about the Invictus Obi narrative is the intensity of the publicity of his personality. Mobsters, politicians and drug dealers raise their capital base from brutal dog-eat-dog scenarios, as depicted in Hollywood movies, then go through painstaking life experiences just to build a good reputation. Obinwanne’s tale employs reverse engineering — first, acquiring a legitimate business persona, then afterward committing the crime: a legitimate business, with a fraudulent source of income.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) has compiled a long list of evidence against Nigeria’s Obinwanne Okeke. If found guilty, he is likely to spend time in the United States as a convicted felon. On a lighter note, Obi would have also violated the old Nigeria corrupt practices rule: not being quiet about his wealth.
What’s new, and what’s not news…

After news of his arrest, first Social media responders went to the website of Invictus Group (his company website) to glean information into what he had been doing. The information showed that Okeke, through Invictus Group has businesses in Energy, Real Estate, and Construction, operating in three African countries: Nigeria, South Africa, and Zambia. These vague descriptions are the signatures of companies operating in Nigeria and more likely many other African countries — in these amorphous spaces, businesses can be capricious. In less than a week, a documented Tech company may begin exporting Cassava peels to China.

It also not new that these company descriptions lack clear evidence for the size of income they declare, nor show any specific value they created to get it. Or at least some percentage of the value created. Obiwanne Okeke has fallen victim to the most unlikely outcome of a rich person with ill-gotten wealth: to be caught outside Nigeria. Or more precisely, to be caught in the United States, and perhaps more intricately, by the FBI.

The most insightful information about what Obinna Okeke’s arrest reveals is the extent of record access that the United States government has. Also, how the Federal Bureau of Investigations has ramped up its attack on fraud across its borders. The most intriguing example is the case of Onyeka Opara, a Nigerian apprehended and extradited from South Africa to New York. Commenting on the case, FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:
“Today’s extradition shows that defendants who allegedly target American victims from a distance are nonetheless subject to the reach of American justice. FBI New York Cyber Crime agents and our law enforcement partners will search out suspects in these cases, even reaching internationally, to stop the next victims from losing their money.”

No comments: