The U.S. Department of Justice has accused 10 people of business email compromise scams that led to losses of over $11.1 million from Medicaid, Medicare, and private medical insurance plans. The payments were for hospitals for delivering covered healthcare services.
Business email compromise (BEC) scams entail getting access to real email accounts and utilizing them to fool persons in charge of wire transfers into transmitting fraudulent payments to accounts controlled by the threat actor. These scams are the number one reason for losses to cybercrime. As per the FBI, over $43 billion was forfeited to these scams from June 2016 to December 2021. In 2021 only, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center got reports of losses due to BEC scams totaling $2,395,953,296.
The arrests were associated with a string of frauds that spoofed hospital email accounts. The persons purportedly engaged in these attacks sent email messages asking for to make modifications to the bank account information on file for all payments down the road. The accounts were lately created by money mules, who would take the money as soon as the transfers were done. The money was then laundered via fake and stolen identities and shell firms. The cash was transmitted overseas and was utilized to buy luxury products and exotic cars. Two Medicare Administrative Contractors, and five Medicaid programs, and two private health insurance companies were fooled into altering the bank account particulars for payments.
7 people were just charged in association with these scams, all of whom were locals of Georgia and South Carolina. They were
- Biliamin Fagbewesa, 31 years old from Columbia, South Carolina
- Desmond Nkwenya, 35 years old from Atlanta, Georgia
- Patrick Ndong-Bike, 32 years old from Atlanta, Georgia
- Cory Smith, 29 years old from Atlanta, Georgia
- Olugbenga Abu, 45 years old from Atlanta, Georgia
- Chisom Okonkwo, 26 years old from Atlanta, Georgia
- Trion Thomas, 50 years old from Stone Mountain, Georgia
The other three persons were formerly accused of their money laundering activities. They were
- Adewale Adesanya, 39 years old from Jonesboro, Georgia
- Sauveur Blanchard Jr., 49 years old from Richmond, Virginia
- Malachi Mullings, 29 years old from Sandy Springs, Georgia
Medicare, Medicaid, and private medical insurance providers experienced losses of over $4.7 million. Federal government institutions, private businesses, and individuals suffered $6.4 million in losses. 9 of the defendants are facing maximum prison terms of 20 or 30 years in case found guilty. Adewale Adesanya confessed to conspiracy to commit money laundering and to the usage of a bogus passport, having laundered around $1.5 million from the BEC scams targeting Medicaid, the IRS, a private firm, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and two senior romance scam victims. His punishment is 4 years in prison on September 15, 2022.
These accusations show a brazen attempt to siphon funds, partly, from vital health care services to finance personal gain, stated the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Deputy Inspector General for Investigations Christian J. Schrank. A major concern of HHS-OIG is the reliability of programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and therefore it is the uttermost priority to go after people who financially take advantage of them. This synchronized action is a perfect example of the dedication that HHS-OIG and our police partners to protect the federal healthcare system from fraudulence.