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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

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Business

PHOTO: What is happening in Amani Ridge the Place of Peace.

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Today 11.08.2020

Welcome to Amani Ridge and take a tour to our green spaces, home to 546 different types of fruit trees!

You will also meet a dedicated team on the ground doing the final closure of the perimeter wall.

Join Optiven family today and get an opportunity to to build your home in a serene,scenic and natural environment.

Call us now:
0790300300 or 0723400500
Website: www.optiven.co.ke

Experience the difference

READ ALSO:   FBI - How Kenyans stole over Sh300 million from US firms
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OPTIVEN: All our projects have you in mind

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We think of accessibility to social amenities, education needs for your children, all social, recreational and economic needs as well.

Living in the Garden of Joy gives you access to all the above and more!

Enjoy all the benefits of living in this wonderful gated community which is just a 7 minute drive from Koma Town.

Invest today in quality living for your family
Call us on 0723 400 500 or visit https://bit.ly/30K8Vwi

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How Covid-19 lifted my Sh1,000 business

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Covid-19 has hit the working class hard. President Uhuru Kenyatta during one of his recent statements warned of 500,000 job losses in six months should Covid-19 persist.

And women bear the brunt of the pandemic as most of them work in the informal sector, the hardest hit by the job cuts.

For Purity Namalwa Nasilwa, however, losing her job was a blessing in disguise.  Instead of drowning in sorrow and self-pity, she used the chance to make a financial comeback.

The 22-year-old sat for her KCSE in 2018, attained a B (Minus) grade, earning her admission to Kenyatta University but lack of school fees did her in.

ACCEPTED FATE

“I had accepted that my life and fate had entered into a coalition to mess me up…Poverty had been hanging around my neck like a guillotine and I had accepted that God’s grace was sufficient for me to enable me live a day at a time,” she says.

Her dream to pursue a course in hospitality went up in smoke when her parents could not afford her campus fees. Countless visits to her Kiharu MP’s office in search of help bore no fruit.

She immersed herself into casual labour in food joints in Murang’a town.

“For one and a half years, she eked a living in Mitura (African sausage) and soup joints, earning between Sh100 and Sh200 as daily wages,” she says.

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In the course of toiling to make ends meet, she got pregnant.

PREGNANT AGAIN

“It did not come as a surprise to me. When life seems harsh to you, you get psyched that misfortunes are part of life. I found myself looking forward to giving birth and even expecting to get pregnant again. I cared not a damn…Little did I know I was sinking slowly into depression,” she says.

Then Covid-19 arrived into the country, all food joints in Murang’a were closed and she was jobless!
“Even when Governor Mwangi wa Iria revised the trade sanctions a month later, the damage had already been done since many small businesses had ran out of capital to pay rent and sustain profitability margins,” she says.

With house rent arrears of Sh5, 000 and hunger staring down at her and her baby, Ms Nasilwa knew her life was nearing unbearable limits.

Purity Nasilwa at her business premise in Murang’a County, preparing the immune boosting juice. PHOTO | MWANGI MUIRURI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

She sought help from her mum.

RENT ARREARS

“She gave me Sh1,000. It was a sacrifice since she was also experiencing the vagaries of Covid-19-induced financial hardships. My first instinct was to go shopping for food reserves. But wait; and afterwards? The rent arrears were accumulating,” she got thinking.

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She had read, in the Bible, about the mustard seed and how it multiplied to generate wealth. The more she thought along that line, the more she got inspired to devise a way of making that Sh1,000 grow.

“I cracked my head for a strategy. An inspiration from nowhere struck my head and opened my horizons far and wide. I became aware that there was a market craze that was building about natural fruits touted to be immunity boosters against Coronavirus,” she says, adding that “that was my Eureka moment.”

She bought food reserves worth Sh300. She used the balance, Sh700 to buy Sh40 avocadoes, Sh50 pineapple, Sh50 bananas, Sh80 beetroots, Sh100 garlic, Sh50 sugarcane and Sh30 tomatoes.

JUICE BLENDING

“With Sh300 in hand now, I bought some plastic cups and jugs worth Sh200 and the balance of Sh100 became my cash in hand,” she says.

The next stop was at a neighbour’s house who gave her a juice blending machine.
She then approached a friend who runs a cybercafé along Biashara Street of Murang’a town for a space to display her new enterprise on a small wooden table.

“It must have been God’s favour since, from my starting stock, I made about 3,000ml of assorted juices, all of which were bought at Sh1,500 equivalent to a net profit of Sh900!” she says.

READ ALSO:   Kenyan Businessman jailed in US for 10 years

While many companies hurt during the coronavirus pandemic, some small businesses like Ms Nasilwa’s are seeing more and more customers by the day.

RELIEF FOOD

“It was too sweet to be true because my sales kept on growing by the day. I have expanded my start-up to include immunity booster uji (porridge) made of organic tuber flour, smooth and fresh juices, detoxes, puddings and salads, “ she says noting that on a bad day, “ I’m guaranteed at least Sh600 as profit.”

She does not require ‘Kazi Mtaani’ or relief food to earn a livelihood since she is self-reliant.

Ms Nasilwa is now more positive about life and says her future is premised on two hopes —either she gets sponsors to see her pursue university education that poverty denied her despite being qualified, or get a breakthrough in her business.

“My greatest lesson in life out of this Covid-19 experience is that not all calamities are bad…Covid-19 pandemic to me was a blessing in disguise. Again, I have come to realise that there is no small money in the hands of a determined mind to multiply it,” she says.

By nation.co.ke

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