Chicago Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Business Email Compromise Scheme

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

INDIANAPOLIS – Oyedele Aro Benjamin, 27, of Chicago was sentenced to two years in federal prison today for his role in a Business Email Compromise (BEC) scheme. A BEC is a sophisticated scheme targeting both businesses and individuals performing a transfer of funds. The scam is frequently carried out when a criminal steals money by illegally gaining access to legitimate business email accounts. This is often accomplished through computer intrusion techniques (“hacking”) and tricking victims into providing criminals access to their accounts (social engineering”).

According to court documents, in September 2018, Benjamin traveled to Indianapolis to deposit a $300,000 check at Regions Bank. The United States Postal Inspection Service determined that the check was obtained through a BEC scam that victimized two Louisiana companies. A scammer, posing via email as a representative from one of the victim companies, tricked that victim company into sending a $300,000 check intended for the second company to an address in Chicago. 

Benjamin received the check in Chicago and then traveled to Indianapolis to open a business bank account at a Regions Bank branch. He opened the account using a fictitious name and business by presenting a fraudulent driver’s license and fraudulent business registration information. The fictitious business name was similar to the actual name of the victim business that was the intended recipient of the stolen $300,000 check. The next day, Benjamin deposited the $300,000 check in the fraudulent bank account. Regions Bank was alerted to the fraud and able to stop and reverse payment prior to any money being withdrawn.

The United States Postal Inspection Service investigated the case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge James R. Sweeney II. As part of the sentence, Judge Sweeney II also ordered that the defendant be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for three years.

U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney MaryAnn T. Mindrum who prosecuted this case.