Olalekan Jacob Ponle, aka Woodberry, has been charged in the U.S. for allegedly orchestrated an international cyber fraud scheme targeting several U.S.-based firms.
The schemes resulted in attempted or actual losses in the tens of millions of dollars to victim companies, including a Chicago-based company who was defrauded of $15.2 million worth of wire transfers.
Ponle made an initial appearance on the court in Chicago this morning. Judge Jeffrey T. Gilbert of the U.S. Magistrate scheduled a hearing of detention for July 9, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.
Through a successful & tricky chat with Woodberry, the lawsuit outlines multiple cases where one or more unknown subjects obtained unauthorized access to the email account of a U.S.-based corporation and sent messages to unsuspecting workers pretending to be from the corporation or a recognized connection with a business.
The emails were almost identical to previous legitimate emails sent over the company’s email address, but the fraudulent emails directed victims to move funds to a bank account set up by Ponle, the complaint says.
Ponle then instructed the mules to convert the proceeds of the fraud into Bitcoin and send it to a virtual wallet owned and operated by Ponle, the complaint states.
In addition to the Chicago-based companies, the complaint states that other victims included companies based in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, New York and California.
The conspiracy to commit wire fraud is punishable in federal prison for up to 20 years. If convicted, a reasonable sentence must be imposed by the Court under federal sentencing statutes and the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines