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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.

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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.

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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

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Toney Tinilu

    August 4, 2019 at 1:46 am

    Give him life and no parole to send a clear message to like-minded thugs.

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Business

DPP Haji now targets Keroche power couple with Sh14 billion tax evasion suit

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DPP Noordin Haji has ordered for the arrest and arraignment of Keroche Breweries directors Tabitha Karanja and Joseph Karanja for allegedly evading taxes amounting Sh14.45 billion since 2015.

In a statement to newsrooms, the DPP said investigations revealed that the directors could be culpable of 10 counts of tax fraud between January 2015 to June 2019.

The DPP said the KRA commissioner general submitted an inquiry file to his office on August 18 and an audit by KRA established that Keroche Breweries had evaded payment of tax tallying to Sh14,451,836,375.

The amount evaded, according to the DPP, included stamps valued at Sh329,424,019, Crescent Vodka brand valued at Sh135,402,950 among other products registered under the company.

The exercise duty evaded on the said products, according to KRA, amounted to Sh2,101,846,768 billion.

IN PUBLIC INTEREST

The DPP says that he is satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that it is in the public interest to charge the suspects with 10 counts of tax fraud contrary to the Tax Procedures Act of 2015.

For more than a decade, Keroche has been battling with Kenya Revenue Authority over tax arrears the brewer owes the taxman.

In 2017, a three-judge Court of Appeal bench ruled that KRA had abused its powers by sending a tax demand of the three tax heads and penalties amounting to Sh1.1 billion through a letter dated November 29, 2006.

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The ruling was the third in the 10-year battle in favour of the brewer, which gave them a fresh lease of life to the 20-year-old Keroche.

The letter was dismissed as unreasonable because it had come without an accompanying schedule of details of the said assessment and without proper notices.

The revenue authority had appealed an earlier decision by the High Court on July 6, 2007, where Justice Joseph Nyamu had prohibited the taxman from demanding the taxes, citing “abuse of powers”.

The taxman, who was also demanding an additional Value Added Tax of Sh305 million, was basing the tax bill on an assessment carried out in 2006, where some Keroche products had allegedly not been given the right classification, hence being subject to lower taxation.

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SPONSORED: “Mahiga Homes” wins 2 coveted Real Estate Awards [VIDEO]

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The Leading Real Estate Developer Mahiga homes Ltd won two major coveted awards in The Real Estate Excellence Awards, namely:

1. Best in off plan Residential Sales
2. Best low cost low rise Residential Developer.
This comes in the wake of being recognized internationally by being awarded The Leading Real Estate Brand 2019 by UK based ranking company Global Brand Awards.
This makes Mahiga homes Ltd the best company with the most Awards totaling to 7 since it started operations 2 years ago.

The previous awards are:
KPRA Awards
1. The Rockie of the Year 2018
2. Affordable Housing Initiative

 

Real Estate Excellence Awards 2018
1. Most Promising Residential Developer 2018
2. Best Low Cost Residential Developer 2018

www.mahigahomes.co.ke
+254720460413

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SPONSORED: Optiven Foundation feted for transforming lives across Kenya

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Optiven Foundation has been feted for it’s role in transforming the society. This was at The Voice Awards held at the Louis Leakey auditorium in Parklands Nairobi on 16th August 2019. The event which was the first to be held in Kenya by it’s owners based in Netherlands, attracted a number of dignitaries and was officially addressed by the Deputy President Dr. William Ruto.

The award to Optiven Foundation was received by the Optiven Group General Manager, Mary Wacukah who is also a trustee of the Optiven Foundation. Speaking shortly after receiving the award Mrs. Wacukah “this award is a true reflection of what the foundation stands for which is to make a difference in the lives of the community.

” She commended all those who support the endeavors of the foundation which she noted has been a great input towards ensuring that the community we live in is a better place saying, “The Optiven Foundation is supported by Optiven Limited and well wishers who come together to ensure that our brothers and sisters live in dignity and their lives are transformed.

Truly when giving you do not just do it for the other person, but it also teaches us to be grateful for what we have.” While appreciated the trustees and philanthropists, she added that the foundation is wholly supported by Optiven Limited where 5% of all profits from real estate are used to cater for the myriad needs of the Optiven Foundation.

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voicesawards

Mrs. Wacuka was accompanied at the event by the Chairman of Optiven Foundation, Mr. George Wachiuri, Ms. Jerusha Abasalom – the Diaspora Manager, top associates of Optiven Limited and who are also philanthropists in their own right Mr. James Mugo and Mr. John Owiro and Ms. Joyce Njambi, the team leader for the Optiven Foundation among others.

Ambassador Pastor Elvis Iruh, the founder of The Voice Magazine in the Netherlands and who partners with Moving Minds Africa to bring the award to Kenya congratulated the team from Optiven Foundation saying their impact in society cannot be underestimated. Ambassador Iruh further noted that the team from Optiven had been receipient of another award which was bestowed to the Chairman Mr. George Wachiuri in 2019 at the Le Koning Hotel at the Hague in the Netherlands in 2018.

He added that both Mr. Wachiuri and the Optiven Foundation had been leaving print marks in the lives of people across the world with the work they are doing in transforming lives through philanthropy. He singled out the efforts to renovate and rehabilitate children living at the Soweto Children’s Home in Kayole where the Optiven Foundation has built classrooms and dormitories as well as provided the daily needs for the children who are fully dependent on the foundation.

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voice awards2

ABOVE: Partners visiting with the Optiven Foundation ahead of The Voice Awards ceremony at the Louis Leakey Auditorium on 16/8/2019

The Optiven Foundation works with the less fortunate in society in order to make their lives better.  Since it’s inception, the foundation has worked in the areas of environment, health and education among others. With key partnerships with different counties, the foundation has been involved with various cleanups including in Kajiado County and Nairobi County.

In adherence to the UN Millenium Development Goals, the Optiven Foundation has adapted environmentally friendly models on all it’s projects including use of biodigesters to save on water, afforestation to increase forest cover as well as participating in community projects that ensure sustainability. With regard to education, the Foundation launched the Soaring Eagles Program with the key mandate to provide opportunities for education for students who have challenges in paying for their education but are keen on performance.

Over the years, Optiven Foundation has given scholarships to students across the country and in every country. On matters health, the Optiven Foundation has provided support to communities through hosting medical camps, monetary support to cover health matters, civic education on the importance of insurance especially covering medical matters as well as community facilitation to persons living with disability. Through it’s Mobility that Brings Smiles campaign, Optiven Foundation has been able to partner with different associates to provide those living with disability with wheelchairs.

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Through partnerships with individuals of good will, the foundation has since donated wheelchairs to deserving cases in Nairobi County, Nyeri County, Machakos County and Kiambu County. As the need for the said wheelchairs is immense the foundation is seeking partners to further spread the mobility that brings smiles through enabling persons living with disability to be able to be mobile.

To Support the Foundation Contact Us

Optiven Group Foundation
Head Office: 
Barclays Plaza, 14th Floor ,Wing A
Tel: +254 20 2484022, +254 718 776033
Email: info@optivenfoundation.org

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