Email hackers bag three years for defrauding KLM, British, Turkish airlines

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja has sentenced two Internet fraudsters, Tobiloba Bakare and Alimi Sikiru, to three years’ imprisonment for hacking the emails of KLM, Turkish and British airways and stealing the sum of $750,000 and N120m.

Justice Taiwo sentenced the convicts after they pleaded guilty to six counts bordering on conspiracy to retain and retaining stolen items filed against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The offences were contrary to sections 411 and 328(1) and punishable under Section 328 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

Following their pleas, the prosecutor, Idris Mohammed, prayed the court to review the facts of the case.

According to Mohammed, the agency on September 2, 2020, received a report about suspicious transactions and money laundering, which led to an investigation by the Advance Fee Fraud section of the commission.

The investigation led to one Kehinde Adelakun, who was convicted in October 2020.

Mohammed told the court that Sikiru’s name and his company, Alvine First Resources Ventures, came up while investigating Adelakun, adding that he operated corporate accounts with First Bank and Sterling Bank Plc.

He said, “Upon analysis of the two accounts belonging to the second defendant (Sikiru), several inflows were discovered from different companies between March and July 2020 reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities and further analysis of the accounts showed that there was a balance of N196,741,261.82 and N9.3m was retained in the Sterling Bank and Polaris Bank accounts of the second defendant.

“The second defendant (Sikiru), when confronted, admitted that majority of the funds received in his accounts were from the first defendant (Bakare) and when the first defendant was confronted, he admitted that he was into business email compromise fraud between 2009 and 2020 and that he hacked into the emails of KLM, Turkish Airlines and British Airways, and in the cause of perpetrating the said fraud, he benefitted the total sum of $750,000, while the second defendant also benefitted the sum of N120m through his conspirator, Dayo Bamgbose, who resides in Texas, USA, but is now deceased.”

Mohammed further told the court that Bakare spent his loot on acquiring properties, while he retained the remaining sums in Sikiru’s account.

Following the review of the facts of the case, Justice Taiwo sentenced the duo to three years’ imprisonment and ordered that the convicts forfeit the sum of N204,041,216.82 and other properties to the Federal Government.

The properties forfeited are Mercedes Benz E500; Toyota Hilux 2020 model; five-bedroom duplex on Ibrahim Beto Street, Osapa London, Lekki, Lagos; four-bedroom semi-detached duplex at Ologolo Jakande, Lekki; and a four-bedroom semi-detached duplex on the Southern View Estate, Mayor Court, Chevron Alternative Road, Lekki, Lagos.

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