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While indicting the six fraudster, Acting US Attorney Tract L. Wilkison observed that business email compromise scams are a massive and growing international crime problem. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Los Angeles: Six individuals, three based in the United States and three believed to be based in Africa, have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles following an elaborate scheme to defraud a Qatari school founder and launder the proceeds through bank accounts around the world.

Acting US Attorney Tract L. Wilkison, commented: “The defendants allegedly faked the financing of a Qatari school by playing the roles of bank officials and creating a bogus website in a scheme that also bribed a foreign official to keep the elaborate pretence going after the victim was tipped off. Mr Abbas, who played a significant role in the scheme, funded his luxurious lifestyle by laundering illicit proceeds generated by con artists who use increasingly sophisticated means. In conjunction with our law enforcement partners, we will identify and prosecute perpetrators of business email compromise scams, which is a massive and growing international crime problem.”

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Commenting on the case, Hamid Al Zaabi, the Director-General, said: “This case will act as a landmark for the effectiveness of multinational collaboration. While led by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the UAE law enforcement community played a strategic role in the apprehension of the defendants.”

According to the US penal code, both conspiracy counts alleged in the indictment carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison while aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory two-year prison term.