Foreign Hacker Sentenced in $1M Scam Targeting Federal Employees and Contractors

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The criminal ring used phishing emails and fake websites to get almost $1 million worth of printer toner to sell on black markets.

A foreign national charged with setting up fake government websites, hacking federal employees’ emails and defrauding agency contractors of almost $1 million has been sentenced to a year and a half in prison.

According to federal investigators, Olumide Ogunremi, 43, a citizen of Nigeria who also goes by the name Tony Williams, was part of a criminal ring that used phishing emails and counterfeit websites to trick federal employees into giving up their digital credentials, which were then used to buy goods to sell on the black market.

In the latter half of 2013, Ogunremi and his co-conspirators sent phishing emails to employees at several federal agencies directing them to fake websites, “including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,” according to a Justice Department release.

“Unwitting employees of the agencies visited the fake web pages and provided their email account usernames and passwords,” Justice officials said.

The group then used those valid credentials to place orders—mostly for printer toner cartridges—with vendors contracted through the General Services Administration. The commercial goods were then shipped to scammers’ addresses in New Jersey before being repackaged and sent to Nigeria to be sold through underground markets.

The scheme netted almost $1 million in stolen office products before being shut down, according to prosecutors.

Inspectors general from several agencies contributed to the investigation, including EPA, GSA and the Commerce Department, as well as investigators with the Defense Department’s Cyber Field Office and the FBI.

Ogunremi was originally set to plead guilty to the wire fraud charges in March 2018 but fled to Canada prior to a court appearance. He was extradited from Canada and returned to the U.S. in September 2019 to stand trial.

Last week, Ogunremi was ordered to pay $68,618 in restitution and sentenced to 36 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

Another member of the team, fellow Nigerian national Abiodun Adejohn, 36, also known as James Williams, pleaded guilty to wire fraud in 2014 and was later sentenced to three years in prison.

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