Idris Dayo Mustapha, a British-Nigerian man, was officially charged for unauthorized computer intrusion, securities fraud, wire fraud, and other offenses amounting to more than $5 million in losses in New York on Tuesday, May 10th.
According to a 10-count lawsuit that was recently publicly disclosed, Mustapha, a 32-year-old United Kingdom citizen, and others used phishing as well as other means to acquire credentials of users from January 2011 to March 2018.
In the lawsuit, it was stated that Mustapha got access to computers in the United States, including email servers and computers belonging to US financial institutions, in order to steal money from online bank accounts and equities brokerage accounts.
The charges were announced by Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office.
He explained that “As alleged in the complaint, the defendant was part of a nefarious group that caused millions of dollars in losses to victims by engaging in a litany of cybercrimes, including widespread hacking, fraud, taking control of victims’ securities brokerage accounts, and trading in the name of the victims,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “Protecting residents of the Eastern District and financial institutions from cyber-criminals is a priority of this office.”
According to the filing, Mustapha and his co-conspirators allegedly accessed the victims’ brokerage accounts and placed unauthorized stock trades within those accounts after financial institutions began to block those unauthorized transfers while trading profitably in the same stocks from accounts they controlled.
Mustapha faces a potential sentence of 20 years in jail if convicted of wire fraud, securities fraud, and money laundering charges, as well as a required two-year sentence for aggravated identity theft.
Prosecutors claim that the Lagos, Nigeria native and his co-conspirators initially moved money from the victims to their own accounts.
They said that once banks stopped allowing the transfers, the conspirators would execute illicit stock trades in hacked accounts while profiting from the same stocks in their own accounts. A documented conversation between Mustapha and an alleged co-conspirator, a Lithuanian national, discussed whether to execute illicit transactions or move money from one brokerage’s account in April 2016, according to the complaint.
Mustapha was cited as stating, “Better to go trade up and down and… not direct fraud wire.”
According to a statement released by Attorney Breon Peace in Brooklyn, Mustapha was “part of a nefarious group that caused millions of dollars in losses to victims by engaging in a litany of cybercrimes.”
Mustapha and his lawyer in New York have not released a comment on the charges.
Mustapha was arrested in Britain in August 2021. the US is attempting to deport Mustapha.