$15.3m stolen by Woodberry from US companies may not be recovered- FBI hints


The Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) has confirmed that $15.3million, which is part of the money stole by Olalekan Jacob Ponle alias Woodberry, has been stashed away in a Bitcoin ( BTC) wallet.

Woodberry was arrested alongside Ramon Olorunwa Abbas aka Hushpuppi and 10 others in Dubai, UAE over cyber-fraud involving 1.9 million victims to the tune of N168 billion.

They have all been extradited to the US, where they will face charges of conspiracy to commit fraud.

In an affidavit, the FBI noted that Woodberry received the said amount between January and September 2019.

Woodberry allegedly staged business email compromise (BEC) schemes targeting accounts through computer intrusion techniques, to carry out unauthorized transfer of funds from victim companies.

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It resulted in a Chicago-based company losing $2,300,000 while another firm was defrauded into transferring a total of $15,268,000, part of which was stashed away in BTC wallet.

“Preliminary blockchain analysis indicates that PONLE received at least 1,494.71506296 bitcoin related to these BEC schemes, valued at approximately $6,599,499.98,” the affidavit read.

“These schemes resulted in attempted and actual losses to victim companies in the tens of millions. PONLE directed money mules in the US to open bank accounts in the names of victim companies.

“Proceeds from BEC schemes, ranging from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars, were then wired by unwitting employees to the bank accounts opened by PONLE’s mules.

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“PONLE then instructed the mules to convert the proceeds to Bitcoin and to send the proceeds of the BEC schemes to a bitcoin wallet that he owned and operated.”

BTC transactions are recorded in the Bitcoin blockchain, but the identities of the individuals or entities are accounted for on the public ledger, making the platform partially anonymous in nature.

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