281 Arrested Worldwide in Coordinated International Enforcement

The cases were investigated by the FBI, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), IRS Criminal Investigation and U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.  U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the Districts of Arizona; Central, Eastern and Southern California; Colorado; Delaware; Southern Florida; Northern Georgia; Northern Illinois; Kansas; Eastern Louisiana; Massachusetts; Nebraska; Nevada; Southern New York; Middle North Carolina; Northern Ohio; Oregon; Northern, Western and Southern Texas; Western Tennessee; Eastern Virginia; Eastern Washington, and elsewhere have ongoing investigations some of which have resulted in arrests in Nigeria.  The Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, and Office of International Affairs of the Criminal Division provided assistance.  District Attorney’s Offices of Harris County, Texas; Fort Bend County, Texas; and Washington County, Arkansas are handling state prosecutions.  Additionally, private sector partners and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ghana Police Service (GPS) and Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), Turkish National Police (TNP) Cyber Department, Direction Centrale de la Police aux Frontieres (PAF) of France, Squadra Mobile Di Caserta and Italian National Police, National Police Agency of Japan, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department (TPMD), Royal Malaysian Police, Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) of Kenya and the National Crime Agency (NCA), North Wales Police, Metropolitan Police Service and Hertfordshire Constabulary of the UK provided significant assistance.  

This operation serves as a model for international cooperation against specific threats that endanger the financial well-being of each member country’s residents.  Deputy Attorney General Rosen expressed gratitude for the outstanding efforts of the participating countries, including law enforcement actions that were coordinated and executed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Nigeria to curb business email compromise schemes that defraud businesses and individuals alike.

The Justice Department’s efforts to confront the growing threat of cyber-enabled financial fraud led to the formation of the BEC Counteraction Group (BCG), which assists U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Department with the coordination of BEC cases and the centralization of related expertise.  The BCG facilitates communication and coordination between federal prosecutors, serves as a bridge between federal prosecutors and federal agents, centralizes and manages institutional knowledge and training, and participates in efforts to educate the public about protecting themselves and their organizations from BEC scams.

The BCG draws upon the expertise of the following sections within the Department’s Criminal Division: the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, which regularly investigates and prosecutes cases involving computer crimes, including network intrusions; the Fraud Section, which manages complex litigation involving sophisticated fraud schemes; the Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, which brings experience in seizing assets obtained through criminal activity; the Office of International Affairs, which plays a central role in securing international evidence and extradition; and the Organized Crime and Gang Section, which contributes strategic guidance in prosecuting complex transnational criminal cases.

Operation reWired was funded and coordinated by the FBI and the Justice Department’s International Organized Crime Intelligence and Operations Center (IOC-2) and follows “Operation Wire Wire[1],” the first coordinated enforcement action targeting hundreds of BEC scammers.  That effort, announced in June 2018, resulted in the arrest of 74 individuals, the seizure of nearly $2.4 million, and the disruption and recovery of approximately $14 million in fraudulent wire transfers.

Victims are encouraged to file a complaint online with the IC3 at bec.ic3.gov[2].  The IC3 staff reviews complaints, looking for patterns or other indicators of significant criminal activity, and refers investigative packages of complaints to the appropriate law enforcement authorities in a particular city or region. The FBI provides a variety of resources relating to BEC through the IC3, which can be reached at www.ic3.gov[3].

For more information on BEC scams, visit: https://www.ic3.gov/media/2019/190910.aspx[4].


  1. ^ Operation Wire Wire (www.justice.gov)
  2. ^ bec.ic3.gov (bec.ic3.gov)
  3. ^ www.ic3.gov (www.ic3.gov)
  4. ^ https://www.ic3.gov/media/2019/190910.aspx (www.ic3.gov)

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