CHICAGO – A man from Nigeria has been arrested after being accused of running a $50 million scheme that targeted Chicago companies.
Olalekan Jacob Ponle allegedly got an unnamed Chicago-based company to wire transfer more than $15 million. Another local company lost $2.3 million, but investigators believe the scheme is worth more than $50 million.
Sources pointed WGN Investigates to his Instagram feed which looks like a lifestyle of the rich and famous.
Here’s how prosecutors said the alleged scheme worked.
Either he or his co-conspirators were able to gain access to company’s email accounts through a phishing attack.
In one of the Chicago cases, they allegedly sent an email that appeared to be from the company’s Chief Accounting Officer to another employee ordering the a transfer.
The criminal complaint says “The fraudulent email was almost identical to a prior, legitimate email” right down to the name on the bank account. But the account “number” was different.
Federal agents said Ponle’s scheme spanned at least 9 months last year.
During that time, one of his Instagram posts read: “Money don’t make a man, a man makes money.”
Ponle is a Nigerian national and was taken into custody in the United Arab Emirates. UAE expelled him and federal agents brought Ponle to Chicago Thursday night for an initial court appearance Friday morning.
A detention hearing is schedule for late next week.