back to article Alleged Nigerian social engineer wins free flight to the US for business email fraud and love scams

A 64 year-old man from Nigeria is set to be tried in the US on charges he was the brains behind a string of business email hacks and romance scams. Babatunde Martins is one of eleven people indicted in the Western Tennessee US District Court on charges of wire fraud, conspiracy, computer fraud, money laundering, and identity …

  1. David 132 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Next on the demonization list...

    ”Using sophisticated anonymization techniques, including the use of spoofed email addresses and Virtual Private Networks”

    Interesting that they call out VPNs in the same breath as “spoofed email addresses”. Is this the first volley in law enforcement’s next campaign to get VPNs tagged in public perception as “something only criminals use”, or am I being overly paranoid?

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: Next on the demonization list...

      I was just going to post the same thing.

      We spoof email addresses every day, for sending email on behalf of various companies, and we also use VPNs every day to connect to our servers. I wouldn't call either of them a "sophisticated anonymization technique".

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Next on the demonization list...

        We spoof email addresses every day, for sending email on behalf of various companies... I wouldn't call either of them a "sophisticated anonymization technique".

        OTOH a spoofed email on behalf of a company makes it more difficult to distinguish between what you and the company would regard as a genuine email and the sort of fake these guys are sending out.

        How would you explain to recipients how to distinguish between your "genuine" emails and the fraudsters' fakes? It's this spoofing that trains the public to be taken in by fraudsters.

        What's worse financial institutions such as banks and building societies and their customers have the most to lose from this sort of fraud and yet, IME, they're amongst the keenest to do this.

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Next on the demonization list...

      I used to worry I was paranoid, now I fear I'm right.

  2. sbt Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    So it's a rare thumbs up for the wheels of justice

    I didn't expect Nigerian scammers were in reach of the US justice system. Those princes of 419 are not going to arrest themselves (not really).

    Just don't ask how much the transport, trials and incarcerations are costing vs. the funds stolen.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: So it's a rare thumbs up for the wheels of justice

      Just don't ask how much the transport, trials and incarcerations are costing vs. the funds stolen.

      Fair point, but since when has justice (in the ideal world, pace the US prison system) been about making a profit?

      1. sbt Silver badge
        Meh

        when has justice ... been about making a profit?

        Of course; the principle is more important and if loss vs. cost to prosecute was a factor in financial crimes it would be ruthlessly exploited by the crims.

        My point was more about just how expensive justice is in general.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: when has justice ... been about making a profit?

          I agree with you both here. But just a jurisdictionally tangential note re :

          > if loss vs. cost to prosecute was a factor in financial crimes it would be ruthlessly exploited by the crims

          As part of the whole mad distortions Australia's self-appointed elites have inflicted on the country in the last 15-20years, the Australian financial regulators are explicit, public, loud, AND self-righteous about... doing exactly this : seeking profit when pursuing enforcement (fines - costs), and in several cases stating that their policy is minimising enforcement (of breaches).

          And yes, crims and "borderlines" actively game this stated rule. And so too do "standard" players, including those with government-guarantees behind them. Some of the stuff that came out in the recentish banking royal commission, for example, beggars belief. Not just the historical matters (eg routinely billing dead people's estates for life insurance premiums), but the belief of witnesses that this was part of the system, and their shock that it might have repercussions. One guy actually collapsed on the stand.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: So it's a rare thumbs up for the wheels of justice

        "since when has justice... been about making a profit?"

        Since the middle ages at least. The amercements of a manorial court were amongst the recognises profits of a manor.

        OTOH for society as a whole the costs of crime, and large-scale fraud especially, justify the costs of the policing and criminal justice systems.

        1. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

          Re: So it's a rare thumbs up for the wheels of justice

          > The amercements of a manorial court were amongst the recognise[d] profits of a manor.

          "Bloody French. Coming over here and taking our feudalism."

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: So it's a rare thumbs up for the wheels of justice

      Of course they didn't actually have to extradite him.

      "Most excellency President of the USA Donald Trump finds that he has been given $15 billion and needs someone to help disburse it. If you are accepting his offer we will fly you to the USA".

      Always get one who will fall for it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    man from Nigeria is set to be tried in the US

    that'll teach them. Not.

  4. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    "Using sophisticated anonymization techniques, including the use of spoofed email addresses and Virtual Private Networks"

    If that's the Feds' definition of sophisticated...

  5. Bonzo_red

    Another Non-Engineer?

    I hope he ends up in Arizona - the prison term for misusing the title "engineer" doesn't bear thinking about.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "sentences of 78 and 31 months"

    Months not years? In the US?

    Things are getting awfully slack over there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      <joke> Methinks the sentence should be served doing Tier 1 tech support...

  7. Aussie Doc
    Paris Hilton

    OMG

    "...against 33 year-old Olufalojimi Abegunde..."

    Prince Jim?

    But you said there was only me and your love was real.

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