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Nigerian hackers steal over $100m from US government

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The U.S. Secret Service is investigating a vast fraud ring of suspected Nigerian hackers using bogus unemployment claims to steal hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars intended to help jobless Americans.

The crime ring is exploiting the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis by flooding overwhelmed state unemployment offices with bogus claims in the names of Americans who are still working, according to a memo reported by Krebs on Security.

The memo, sent to Secret Service field offices on Thursday, said that ‘substantial amount of the fraudulent benefits’ have used information stolen from ‘first responders, government personnel and school employees.’

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Washington state said to be a magnet for bogus claims, temporarily halted payment of benefits while it sorted through the surge of fraud, leaving jobless Americans in dire financial straits.

The state resumed benefits payments on Saturday.

The fraud comes as state unemployment offices have been overwhelmed by record-shattering numbers of claims, with more than 35 million people losing their jobs amid the lockdowns intended to slow the spread of coronavirus.

‘The primary state targeted so far is Washington, although there is also evidence of attacks in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Florida,’ the memo added.

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‘In the state of Washington, individuals residing out-of-state are receiving multiple ACH deposits from the State of Washington Unemployment Benefits Program, all in different individuals’ names with no connection to the account holder,’ the notice continues.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Seattle said on Friday that it is working with state authorities to track down and prosecute criminals who are stealing unemployment benefits.

‘Chasing these reprehensible criminals is just one part of the equation,’ U.S. Attorney Brian Moran said in a statement.

‘The other part is for the state to address and fix the vulnerabilities in their system, and I am advised that they are working to address that part of the problem.’

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The Secret Service memo suggests that the suspected Nigerian scammers utilize American ‘mules’ — often victims of online romance scams — to receive direct deposits from the fraudulent transactions and forward the money to the overseas scammers.

The Secret Service was historically part of the Treasury Department, and in addition to protecting the president, it is tasked with safeguarding the nation’s financial and payment systems.

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Crime

Ten Nigerian pirates charged with hijacking Chinese ship near Abidjan

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The Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) Monday arraigned 10 suspected pirates for the hijack of a Chinese fishing vessel, FV Hai Lu Feng II, in international waters off Cote D’Ivoire.

The defendants are: Frank Abaka, Jude Ebaragha, Shina Alolo, Joshua Iwiki, David Akinseye, Ahmed Toyin, Shobajo Saheed, Adekole Philip, Matthew Masi and Bright Agbedeyi.

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They were charged on three counts before Justice Ayokunle Faji.

The government told the court that the defendants “while armed with weapons, committed an illegal act of violence against the crew on board FV Hai Lu Feng II belonging to Haina Fishing Company by putting them in fear in order to take control of the vessel.”

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Prosecution counsel Laraban Magaji said the incident occurred in May this year in international waters off Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.

Magaji said it violated Section 3 of Suppression of Piracy and Other Maritime Offences Act, 2019 and was punishment under Section 2 of the same Act.

Each defendant pleaded not guilty.

While adjourning till July 15, 2020 for the hearing of the defendants’ bail applications and commencement of trial, Justice Faji remanded them in the Nigerian Navy’s custody.

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Crime

In six months Lagos records 32 cases of rape, sodomy – Police

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The Lagos Police Command says no fewer than 32 separate cases of defilement, rape, incest and sodomy have been reported by residents of the state in the last six months.

Speaking exclusively with PUNCH HealthWise, Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana applauded Lagos state for establishing a strong bond between hospitals and the police, adding that such link has ensured they are abreast of developments on rape cases

He disclosed that between January and June, the state recorded 32 cases of defilement, rape, incest and sodomy.

“We have arrested 39 suspects in connection with the 32 rape cases. Also, we have charged 29 of those suspects to court with three persons remaining in custody because their case just came in some days ago. They will also be prosecuted before the end of this week,” he said.

The deputy superintendent of police explained that rape cases are always easier to resolve when victims present themselves early for medical examinations and forensic evidence.

“This is where non-government organisations like Mirabel Centre has proved useful. They have a team of counsellors and medical experts who attend to victims and help secure pieces of evidence like a bloodstain, sperms and pubic hair (in some cases).

“Some of these rape cases are not all about girls and women. It also involves boys who had been sodomised and sustained injuries. The important thing is for the victims to protect and present themselves early for treatment and further investigation,” he urged

Nigeria has been enmeshed with sad tales of young girls and women being sexually assaulted in open and obscure places. Recent victims included Vera Omozuwa and Barakat Bello, both killed in the process.

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Another recent victim was a 12-year-old girl who was gang-raped by four masked men last week in Ajah area, Lagos.

The United Nations Children’s Fund reported in 2015 that one in every four girls and one in every ten boys had experienced sexual violence before the age of 18 years.

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Crime

Welder on the run after allegedly raping SS2 student in Ile Ife

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A welder identified as Korede Adewumi has reportedly fled his residence after he was accused of raping a 19-year-old teenager in Ile-Ife, Osun state.

The welder absconded after he was accused of raping an SS2 student while she was hawking ‘aadun’ around Olubuse area of Ile-Ife.

It was gathered that the rape victim started hawking to keep herself busy since schools are closed due to Coronavirus pandemic.

It was learnt that the welder allegedly pretended he wanted to buy her snacks and lured her to his house where he raped her while hawking on Friday, July 3.

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According to report, Korede was allegedly sitting in the verandah of his house when he saw her and called her.

Korede reportedly went inside, pretending he was going to get her money, then, he came to his door and asked her to come get her money. As soon as she got to him, he allegedly pulled her hands and forcefully dragged her into his house where he allegedly raped her.

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It was also reported that the landlord heard the girl’s screams but by the time he reached out to neighbours for help, Korede was allegedly done with the act.

The victim was taken to a nursing home where some tests were carried out. The case was then reported at Aagun Police station.

According to a report referring the victim to the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital written by the Jesuloluwa nursing home and maternity, “the above-named patient came to my facility with the history of forced sexual intercourse. There is bleeding per vagina as confirmed by the clinician in-charge”.

Both the police and family members of Mr Adewumi said they do not know his whereabouts.

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Police operatives have visited Korede Adewunmi’s home multiple times, but they haven’t found him. His aged mother also claims she hasn’t seen him.

The police have said they will not give up until they find him.

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