June 10, 2014

Nigerian Man Admits Role in Computer Hacking Scheme That Targeted Government Employees

NEWARK, NJ—A Nigerian man today admitted his role in a computer hacking and identity theft scheme that defrauded vendors of nearly $1 million of office products after phishing e-mail login information from government employees, New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Abiodun Adejohn, a/k/a “James Williams,” a/k/a “Olawale Adeyemi,” a/k/a “Abiodun Ade John,” a/k/a “Abiodun Ade-John,” 30, of Nigeria, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William H. Walls in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of wire fraud conspiracy.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

The scheme employed phishing attacks, which used fraudulent e-mails and websites that mimicked the legitimate e-mails and web pages of U.S. government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Employees of those agencies visited the fake web pages and provided their e-mail account usernames and passwords.

Adejohn and his conspirators used these stolen credentials to access the employees’ e-mail accounts in order to place fraudulent orders for office products, typically printer toner cartridges, in the employees’ names from vendors who were authorized to do business with U.S. government agencies. Adejohn and his conspirators directed the vendors to ship the fraudulent orders to individuals in New Jersey and elsewhere to be repackaged and ultimately shipped to overseas locations controlled by Adejohn and his conspirators. Once the orders were received in Nigeria, Adejohn and his conspirators sold the toner cartridges to another individual on the black market for profit.

Adejohn was arrested in Arizona on September 24, 2013, and has been detained since his arrest.

The wire fraud conspiracy to which Adejohn pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for September 9, 2014.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas Muskett; General Services Administration OIG, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Paul Walton; Department of Commerce OIG, under the direction of Todd J. Zinser; Department of Defense, Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Director James Burch; and special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Shana W. Chen, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.