NEWARK, NJ – A Nigerian national extradited from Canada appeared in court Wednesday for his alleged role in a scheme that defrauded vendors of office products valued at nearly $1 million by “phishing” e-mail login information from government employees, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.
Olumide Ogunremi, a/k/a “Tony Williams,” was charged by indictment on Sept. 28, 2018, with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. He was extradited to the District of New Jersey on Sept. 26, 2019, and pleaded not guilty on Wednesday. He was detained without bail, Carpenito said.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from July 2013 through December 2013, Ogunremi and other conspirators perpetrated a computer hacking and theft scheme targeting United States government agencies’ email systems and Government Services Administration (GSA) vendors. The ring employed “phishing” attacks, which used fraudulent e-mails and websites that mimicked the legitimate e-mails and web pages of U.S. government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Unwitting employees of those agencies visited the fake web pages and provided their e-mail account usernames and passwords.
Ogunremi and his conspirators used these stolen credentials to access the employees’ e-mail accounts in order to place fraudulent orders for office products, typically printer toner cartridges, from vendors who were authorized to do business with U.S. government agencies. Ogunremi and his conspirators directed the vendors to ship the fraudulent orders to individuals in New Jersey and elsewhere to be repackaged and ultimately shipped to other locations overseas, which were controlled by Ogunremi and his conspirators. Once the orders were received in Nigeria, Ogunremi and his conspirators sold the toner cartridges to another individual on the black market for profit, according to documents and statements made in court.
On June 10, 2014, Abiodun Adejohn, a/k/a “James Williams,” 30, of Nigeria, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy, and was later sentenced to three years in prison.
The wire fraud conspiracy carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.