Connect with us


FBI, DoJ indict Nigerian over $800,000 theft via payroll hack



64-yr-old Nigerian charged for masterminding email hacks, romance scams

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in collaboration with the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) on Wednesday announced the arrest of a Nigerian, Charles Onus, over theft committed via payroll hacking.

This was contained in a joint statement issued by Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (“IRS-CI”).

According to the FBI, Onus was nabbed “in connection with a scheme to conduct cyber intrusions of multiple user accounts maintained by a company that provides human resources and payroll services to employers across the United States, in order to steal payroll deposits.”

Onu’s criminal history was also detailed with the Bureau noting that he was previously arrested on April 14, 2021, in San Francisco.

The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe with Onu scheduled to stand trial in a Manhattan federal court before Magistrate Judge Sarah L. Cave.

In his remarks, Strauss said: “Charles Onus allegedly participated in a scheme that stole nearly $1 million by hacking into a payroll processing company’s system to access user accounts and divert payroll to prepaid debit cards he controlled. Thanks to the FBI and IRS-CI, Onus is in custody and facing serious federal charges.”

READ ALSO: SocialMediaTrends: Abidemi Rufai’s arrest by FBI, el-Rufai’s ‘abuse of power’ in Kaduna & more

FBI Assistant Director Sweeney Jr. said: “Cyber intrusions ripple through everything our society relies upon – this one impacted people’s paychecks. The FBI’s goal is to prevent cybercriminals from causing harm and holding them accountable, but we can’t do it alone. Each one of us, from the individual citizen to the biggest corporation, plays a critical role in defending the nation from cyberattacks.”

“From at least in or about July 2017 through at least in or about 2018, at least approximately 5,500 Company user accounts were compromised and more than approximately $800,000 in payroll funds were fraudulently diverted to prepaid debit cards, including those under the control of Onus.

“The compromised Company user accounts were associated with employers whose payroll was processed by the Company, including employers located in the Southern District of New York,” the statement reads in part.

By Mayowa OLadeji

Join the conversation


Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism

Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.

As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.

If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.

Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.

Donate Now