RICHMOND, Va. – A British citizen pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to defraud after being extradited from the United Kingdom at the request of the United States.
According to court documents, Olabanji Egbinola, a 43-year-old from London, England, was involved in an online Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud scheme targeting Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). A BEC scheme, also known as “cyber financial fraud,” is a sophisticated scam that typically targets employees of businesses or organizations that regularly execute large wire transfers. The BEC conspirators used technical means and social engineering techniques to impersonate an employee with an ongoing contract with the target victim. The BEC co-conspirators then trick the victim organization’s employees into changing the bank account for the impending transaction to one that the co-conspirator controls or has access to.
As part of his guilty plea, Egbinola pleaded guilty to impersonating an employee named “Rachel Moore” of the Kjellstrom + Lee Construction Company in Richmond, which is working on a construction project with the VCU. Over the course of multiple emails from September 2018 to December 2018, Egbinola tricked the VCU into changing bank accounts in order to make an impending payment to Kjellstrom + Lee. On December 20, 2018, a sum of $469,819.44 intended to be paid to Kjellstrom + Lee was transferred from a VCU-controlled bank account to a co-conspirator-controlled Hope Bank account in Los Angeles, California. The money is rarely recovered.
Egbinola is scheduled to be sentenced on February 13, 2023. He faces up to 20 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are usually less than the maximum sentence. A federal district court judge will determine any sentencing after considering U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Jessica D. Arber and Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Richmond Division Stanley M. Midor made the announcement after U.S. District Judge David J. Novak accepted the plea. information.
The Richmond FBI Cyber Task Force conducted the investigation with the assistance of the FBI Cyber Division, the FBI Criminal Division, the DOJ’s Office of International Affairs and the FBI Legal Commissioner’s London office. British authorities have also provided substantial assistance.
The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs worked with law enforcement partners in the UK to secure Egbinola’s arrest and extradition to the US.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian Hood is prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is available on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Relevant court documents and information can be found on the website of the Eastern District Court of Virginia or by searching Case No. on PACER. 3:22-cr-124.