Denis Onderi Makori of Cobb County, Georgia, has been indicted for laundering more than $2 million from an unspecified university in Pennsylvania.
According to the Department of Justice, Makori and various other individuals used a business email compromise (BEC) scheme that led the university to unknowingly transfer over $2 million to the bank accounts that he allegedly controlled.
From there, he “moved and laundered the funds between and among bank accounts associated with his logistics company, and then to bank accounts in Kenya, to himself, and to other persons associated with him.”
The FBI states on its website that BEC schemes are among the most financially damaging. Fraudsters carry out the scheme by sending an email message from a trusted source, making a legitimate request.
In this scenario, Makori sent a fraudulent email that claimed it was from a medical supply company. It laid out instructions for the university to electronically transfer payments to one of their accounts instead of to the intended beneficiary of the university’s payments, a medical supply company based in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of FBI Atlanta, stated that BEC schemes are a major reason for the launch of the Georgia Cyber Fraud Task Force in February.
“It takes a combination of education and our priority to investigate and prosecute these cases to make it a deterrent to those who contemplate committing these crimes,” he explained.
Cyberattacks Continue to Plague Universities
Universities, alongside government agencies and companies, have been targeted by malicious actors for years. In addition to BEC schemes, hackers often use phishing to gain access to private networks and steal important personal data. Some go as far as to plant malware that encrypts a victim’s network, rendering it unusable.
These threats highlight the need for more professionals in the cybersecurity industry.