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Kenyan man in US: Yes, I defrauded two Universities of over Shs 75 Million

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A Kenyan national, Amil Hassan Raage, has pleaded guilty to fraudulently receiving almost $750,000 as part of a spear phishing scheme. (Spear-phishing is when an unwitting victim responds to a bogus email, which the victim believes is from a trusted sender, and reveals confidential information to the fraudsters.)

On July 23, 2018, the University of California San Diego (UCSD) received a spear phishing email from a fraudulent Dell email account instructing UCSD to redirect its payments meant for Dell equipment and services to Raage’s Wells Fargo bank account in Minnesota.  Believing that the email was from a legitimate Dell employee, UCSD followed the instructions and redirected payment.

The email actually originated from one of Raage’s co-conspirators in Kenya. From August 8 through September 12, 2018, UCSD sent Raage 28 payments totaling $749,158.37.  Each time UCSD wired money to Raage’s account, Raage would promptly withdraw the money or transfer it to another account.  When UCSD learned of the fraud, it halted payments.

UCSD was not alone. Raage and his co-conspirators perpetrated a similar scheme on another university, this one in Pennsylvania. Again, a co-conspirator in Kenya used a falsified Dell account to instruct the Pennsylvania university to redirect its Dell payments to a bank account in Minnesota again controlled by Raage. Over the month of January 2018, the Pennsylvania university wired six payments totaling $123,643.77 to Raage’s bank account before the university was alerted to the fraud and stopped payments.

READ ALSO:   REVEALED: 442,966 Kenyans Entered FY-2018 US Diversity Visa (Green Card) Lottery

After the bank froze Raage’s accounts, he fled to Kenya on September 22, 2018. Working with Kenyan law enforcement, the FBI’s Legal Attaché in Kenya, and the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, Kenyan police arrested Raage on May 7, 2019, and extradited back to the United States on May 23, 2019, to face prosecution for his involvement in this theft.

“Modern criminals like Raage have ditched the ski mask and getaway vehicle and opted for a computer as their weapon of choice,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “As this defendant has learned, we are matching wits with new-age thieves and successfully tracking them down and putting an end to their high-tech deception.”

“As exemplified by this outstanding result, criminals who operate in cyberspace falsely believe themselves to be beyond the reach of law enforcement, but they are sorely mistaken,” said FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Scott Brunner. “Our agents will relentlessly pursue justice, aided by our foreign partners. Thank you to the Kenyan National Police and the Office of International Affairs for their invaluable assistance in bringing Mr. Raage before the bar of justice.”

This type of spear phishing activity has been on the rise, especially for universities, local governments and other entities with procurement paperwork available on-line.

READ ALSO:   BREAKING: Kenya Airways offers free one-way air tickets to Kenyans in US returning home

If you or your business or organization have been victimized by an email compromise scam, such as this one, it is important to act quickly. Contact your financial institution immediately and request that they contact the financial institution where the fraudulent transfer was sent. Next, call the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI and also file a complaint—regardless of dollar loss—with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Raage’s sentencing is set for 8:30 a.m. on October 11, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel.

DEFENDANT                                   Case Number18CR4858-GPC

Amil Hassan Raage                            Age: 48

SUMMARY OF CHARGE

Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, in violation of Title 18 United States Code, Sections 1349

Maximum Penalty: Twenty years in prison

AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation, San Diego Division

Kenya Police Service

Director of Public Prosecutions, Kenya

Legal Attaché, U.S. Embassy, Nairobi, Kenya

U.S. Department of Justice, Office of International Affairs

Topic(s):
Financial Fraud


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Business

Navigating through the Covid-19 Terrain and a Story of Exceptional Transformation at Optiven

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Navigating through the Covid-19 Terrain and a Story of Exceptional Transformation at Optiven

Optiven Group has continuously had all its eyes trained on its vision of economically and socially empowering and transforming the society.

This vision was however momentarily shaken by Covid-19, especially on the month of March 2020, when the first case was reported. Soon, all was not business as usual. The pandemic scared our staff and customers alike. With huge loans to pay, massive salary bills and many office rentals to cope with, everything seemed daunting. The worst was when we closed our offices and temporarily sent hundreds of staff home. That was extremely agonizing to bear.

As an entrepreneur, this was one of my worst periods ever. The headaches were not ceding ground and the only thing that was consoling was the power of prayers. It is during such times when the test of leadership comes to play.

Our most affected area of business was our sister venture entities in the name of restaurants. Indeed, we sent hundreds of staff home. We are now however thanking God that 85% of these staff are back and with a projection of bringing back the rest soon, as business starts coming back.

READ ALSO:   College student from Kenya, Jamal Ng'ang'a, dies in US

Importantly, soon after Covid-19 pandemic hit, Optiven Group was swift in adopting new strategies and quickly embracing appropriate technology to counter the new terrain. This is perhaps one of the reasons why the firm is still expanding, especially on the area of job creation and mentorship front.

It is largely courtesy of these strategies that despite the current pandemic, we have managed to launch enormous mentorship programs such as the George Wachiuri School of Mentorship and also engaged in encouraging SMEs that have really been struggling to stay afloat through our business mentorship sessions. Through the latter, we have continued to inspire over 7,000 active participants through George Wachiuri’s Facebook LIVE shows that are also available on my You Tube channel, this has continued to give hope to many.

Still, during this period, we have managed to create over 100 permanent jobs for both senior and middle level employees, plus over 200 casuals that daily work in our projects. This job increase is in line with our goal of creating over 30, 000 jobs by the year 2030.

On the real estate front, we really had to think away from the box and undertake a massive 360 degree transformation that was educated by thinking differently and changing how we used to do things before Covid-19.

READ ALSO:   APPRECIATION: Thank you Kenyans in Georgia and beyond for your help

Thanks to this, we have continued to provide our customers with even more offerings in terms of value additions to our projects. It is during this period of Covid-19 when we decided to put our efforts towards GoingGreen in most of our projects. Matter of fact, we have surprised our customers by further transforming our projects through installation of green energy, massive tree planting, and installation of water recycling systems, encouraging plot owners engage in farming of organic foods and subsequently feed their families from their previously idle plots. Significantly, we also changed from use of Kenya Power electricity in our projects to the use of solar energy on almost all amenities and by so doing, we have now managed to save millions of shillings in terms of KPLC bills. Most importantly, we are glad that we are now fully plugged on the green energy agenda.

All along, the company has continued to flourish through innovation, partnerships, massive philanthropy activities and even more importantly, a commitment to always entrust all our undertakings to God.

We are glad that we are consistently realizing our vision of being pacesetters in social economic transformation through opportunities such as job creation that have a positive multiplier effect on the society.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan man Joseph Githua Ngumi passes away in North Carolina

Guided by the same vision, we always dedicate 5% of what we make in business and channel it to the less fortunate through a registered foundation viz Optiven Foundation. We have hundreds of orphans whom we support to go through school. We also support the physically challenged to get free wheelchairs and support girls to access schools. The Foundation also cares for over 300 families and helps them to get food daily.

Indeed, we at Optiven exist to economically and socially empower and transform the society.

#ChangingLives
#EyesOnTheCommunity
#CreatingJobs
#GoingGreen
#HousingKenyans

Contact Optiven Group:0790 300 300
Email: admin@optiven.co.ke Website: www.optiven.co.ke George Wachiuri Blog: www.georgewachiuri.com
YouTube: https://bit.ly/2VdSuFJ


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How I made my first million

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At what age did you make your first million? 

I was 19.

How did you make it? 

I was running a creative design and printing agency. I bid for and won an order to design and print marketing materials for a global NGO which has offices in Kenya.

How did you spend or invest it? 

I re-invested most of it into the business by buying more machinery to reduce costs associated with outsourcing. I also set up a new business with a friend – a movie shop in Nairobi CBD.

The biggest money mistake you have ever made? 

Setting up the movie shop was the greatest money mistake – but I picked up two of the greatest business lessons. One, to never divest too early, and only invest in a business you understand well.

What is the best investment you have ever made?

 I would say investing in myself and in my exposure through travel. Travel has made me see endless possibilities for innovating new products, business models and solutions in the African market. A combination of the international exposure and strong local market understanding is priceless.

What is the worst purchase you have ever made? 

The movie shop. I bought a ready business that I did not understand and it went crumbling down. We eventually closed it a few months later.

READ ALSO:   BREAKING: Kenya Airways offers free one-way air tickets to Kenyans in US returning home

If you had a spare million or two, where would you invest it right now?

I would invest it in my current business – a software technology company. This is because I believe the business has potential to become a great success.

What is the biggest money lesson you have learnt about growing it and making it work for you? 

Initially, we all have to work for money. However, I have learnt that the wealthy person has learnt how to make money work for them, through consistently investing what one earns.

Where do you learn about finances? 

I read a lot of books about real success stories from entrepreneurs because I believe entrepreneurship is a great way to create wealth, while creating value in the society. I also stay curious to learn about different investment vehicles because I know I shouldn’t put all my eggs in one basket.

Any financial myths you think should be busted? 

Money is not the root of all evil; greed may be. Money is a good thing because it can create freedom and prosperity, if well spent.

What two personal finance rules do you follow? 

Live within your means; and work to make money as a tool to accomplish real goals. Real goals are not just about making “enough” money, because it is almost impossible to define “enough.”

READ ALSO:   BREAKING: USCIS awards Citizenship Grants

Investing or saving…Which one carries more weight?

Investing. However, they go hand to hand as saving to invest is acceptable.

One can get rich easily… but how does one stay rich? 

By constantly making calculated investment risks, and always striving to be wealthy, not rich.


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LET’S HOLD HANDS WITH OPTIVEN FOUNDATION

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By helping someone achieve their dream,
You are well on your way to achieving your own dream!

Together with partners like you, the Optiven Foundation is changing one life at a time, by reaching the most vulnerable and meeting their needs. Because the needs are growing daily, we are open to hold hands with you and make our world a better place. Make your donation to Optiven Foundation via Paybill 898 630, Account name: Mobility

For more info, call us on +254 718 77 60 33 or info@optivenfoundation.org
www.optivenfoundation.org
#TransformingLives
#RestoringDignityof Senior citizens
#SharingHopewithOptiven


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READ ALSO:   Kenyan-born man dies of Coronavirus in NY, family wants body flown home
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Special Offer: Own one starting at Ksh 3.7M


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