Nigerian Scammers Steal on Gemini and BTC Platforms

Judy Rubio

FBI criminal complaints are increasing and this week the mass media outlets revealed that Nigerian scammers managed to convert millions of U.S. dollars into cryptocurrency. They employed the Gemini exchange to perform their operations and siphoned huge amounts of money.

According to the police reports, authorities arrested two Nigerian jetsetters who published numerous pictures showing their luxurious lifestyle. Later on, both criminals were extradited from Dubai to the USA. FBI representatives say that the cybercriminals successfully converted millions of U.S. dollars into BTC through the Gemini exchange.

The illustration above shows the transaction summary for the BTC address. Jacob Ponle and Ramon Abbas are also known to use the aliases of Mark Kain and Mr. Woodbery to perform their transfers. The complaint describes their activities and how the criminals used the cryptocurrency to transfer the stolen money.

According to the investigators, the scammers were engaging in BEC. This is a scheme that is known by many as a business email compromise. Criminals gain access to email accounts belonging to legitimate businesses and then they start to manipulate the firm’s employees.

As a rule, they demand they should transfer funds owned by the firm and send the money to the criminals’ bank accounts. The FBI complaint alleges that the Nigerian scammers defrauded companies based in the USA of millions of U.S. dollars. Then, they converted over six million USD into one thousand five hundred BTC.

Blockchain analysts reveal that Ponle gained huge money utilizing the BEC schemes. Also, the complaint indicated it is obvious that Ponle didn’t bother too much to hide his track on the network. During the investigation process, officials found out that the criminal has been using the same address for the past six years. However, the documents focus on his illicit activities last year only.

Criminal’s Preferred Exchange

Gemini seems to have become one of many criminals’ preferred exchanges. This may look and sound amusing to some participants, taking into consideration the fact that many users in the crypto industry find this platform exceptionally compliant. On the other hand, analysts can explain this choice by the fact the suspect needed an exchange based in the USA – not all of such services cater to businesses.

Half a year ago, Ponle’s associate said that more than two million USD had been deposited to the exchange and then converted to the cryptocurrency.

The criminals transferred a total of six hundred and one BTC. At that moment, the crypto’s price was at almost three thousand five hundred USD.