National Bureau of Investigation agents on Wednesday arrested four Nigerians who allegedly stole over P100 million from a still unidentified financial institution in the Philippines.
According to “24 Oras,” the suspects were arrested in a Muntinlupa condominium by the NBI Cybercrime Division.
The NBI said the Nigerians were hackers who were part of a bigger international syndicate.
“‘Yung grupo kasi diyan, it is complicated because it is composed of international hackers tapos may mga local players tayo. Compartmentalized kasi ang trabaho nila,” NBI Cybercrime Division chief Vic Lorenzo said.
“[‘Yung] proceeds na makukuha nila, dadaan naman sa local partners nila pero ‘yung iba Filipinos, ‘yung iba, foreign nationals… in connection with international organized group,” he added.
The NBI said three months before the crime, the suspects set up accounts at the targeted financial institution with the help of their Filipina partners.
The NBI said the Filipinas were also tasked to withdraw the money that was deposited by international hackers into the accounts created by the Nigerians.
“Pinag-aralan nila ‘yung sistema diyan, nakita nila ‘yung vulnerabilities, in-exploit nila ‘yung vulnerabilities kaya nila na-break ‘yung system noong financial institutions,” Lorenzo said.
One of the Filipinas involved withdrew P2.5 million in five separate withdrawals.
“Nakikitaan ko po siya ng pera. Sasabihin niya po, dadalhin niya ‘yun sa pinsan niya. Ang sabi po niya, money changer ‘yung pinsan niya… Hindi po talaga ako kasama kasi meron naman po ako talagang trabaho, may negosyo rin po ako,” said one of the women involved.
One of the suspects denied participation in the crime.
“I’m not involved. Only what I [did was] one student wants to call money back from Nigeria for their tuition, that’s all,” Ekekwe Mkechukwu said.
The four suspects were charged with falsification of public documents, card fraud, and violation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.