Obinwanne Okeke, popularly known as Invictus Obi, founder of Invictus Group has been sentenced to a 10-year jail term for computer and wire fraud by a U.S. court. In 2016, Okeke was named on Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 and also appeared on the magazine’s cover.
Okeke was found guilty by the FBI for his involvement in computer and wire fraud scheme in which the victims suffered losses of approximately $11 million between 2015 and 2019. He would later plead guilty to the charges in June, 2020.
“Through subterfuge and impersonation, Obinwanne Okeke engaged in a multi-year global business email and computer hacking scheme that caused a staggering $11 million in losses to his victims,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
“Today’s sentence further demonstrates EDVA’s and FBI’s worldwide reach in vigorously pursuing justice on behalf of American victims and others and holding international cybercriminals accountable, no matter where they commit their crimes.”
According to his official profile, Invictus Obi has a degree in International Studies and Forensic Criminology and Masters of International Relation and Counter-Terrorism Studies from Monash University in Australia. A year after being honoured by Forbes, Okeke was named as a finalist by CNBCA for Young Business Leader of the Year (West Africa).
As part of the fraud scheme, Okeke and other conspirators engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment. In April 2018, a Unatrac executive fell prey to a phishing email that allowed conspirators to capture login credentials.
The conspirators sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices. Invictus Obi participated in the effort to victimize Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totaling nearly $11 million, which was transferred overseas.
Additionally, he also engaged in other forms of cyber fraud, including sending phishing emails to capture email credentials, creating fraudulent web pages, and causing other losses to numerous victims.
“The FBI will not allow cyber criminals free reign in the digital world to prey on U.S. companies,” said Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office. “This sentencing demonstrates the FBI’s commitment to working with our partners at the Department of Justice and our foreign counterparts to locate cyber criminals across the globe and bring them to the United States to be held accountable.”
Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office, made the announcement after sentencing by Chief U.S. District Judge Rebecca Beach Smith.