Hingham Man Indicted for Role in Business Email Compromise Scheme

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BOSTON – A Hingham man was arrested today in connection with a business email compromise (BEC) scheme.

Gustaf Njei, 26, was indicted on two counts of wire fraud, one count of structuring to avoid reporting requirements, one count of unlawful monetary transactions, and one count of money laundering conspiracy. Njei was released on conditions following an initial appearance before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Judith G. Dein.

As alleged in the indictment, Njei conspired with others to open bank accounts in Massachusetts in the name of a sham company, as part of the apparent BEC scheme. A BEC scheme is a sophisticated scam often targeting businesses involved in wire transfer payments. The fraud is carried out by compromising and/or “spoofing” legitimate business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques, to cause employees of the victim company (or other individuals involved in legitimate business transactions) to transfer funds to accounts controlled by the scammers.

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It is alleged that, through the use of fraudulent invoices and spoofed email accounts, Njei conspired to trick the victims of the scheme into wiring hundreds of thousands of dollars to a bank account under his control. Njei then allegedly transferred part of the funds to a bank account located overseas, while splitting the remaining funds with a co-conspirator in the United States.


The charge of wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of structuring to avoid reporting requirements provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of unlawful monetary transactions provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine up to $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. The charge of money laundering conspiracy provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000 or twice the gross gain or loss, whichever is greater. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

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Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney William B. Brady of Mendell’s Criminal Division, and Jordi de Llano, Deputy Chief of Mendell’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit, are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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