Denis Onderi Makori has been indicted on charges relating to a business email compromise (BEC) scheme targeting a Pennsylvania university and allegedly defrauding it out of more than $2 million.
“Business email compromise schemes pose a severe risk of financial loss to public and private institutions alike,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “In this case, Makori allegedly helped orchestrate a scheme that caused a university to transfer unknowingly over $2 million to bank accounts he controlled.”
“BEC schemes like this alleged one are a big reason why the Georgia Cyber Fraud Task Force, comprised of federal, state and local agencies, was launched in February,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “It takes a combination of education and our priority to investigate and prosecute these cases to make it a deterrent to those who contemplate committing these crimes.”
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Erskine, the indictment, and other information presented in court: Various individuals allegedly engaged in a fraudulent BEC scheme to cause a university located in Pennsylvania to send payments totaling more than $2 million via Automated Clearing House (ACH) to a bank account controlled by Makori, rather than to the intended beneficiary of such payments, a medical supply company based in Alpharetta, Georgia.
In furtherance of the scheme, a fraudulent email was allegedly sent to the university that purported to be from the medical supply company. The fraudulent email allegedly contained ACH payment instructions that directed the university to transfer payments to an account that purportedly belonged to the medical supply company. The university then transferred more than $2 million dollars to the bank account allegedly controlled by Makori. Then, Makori allegedly moved and laundered the funds between and among bank accounts associated with his logistics company, and then to bank accounts in Kenya, to himself, and to other persons associated with him.
Denis Onderi Makori, 34, of Powder Springs, Georgia, was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 20, 2021. Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Chicago Field Office provided valuable assistance in this case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan M. Christian is prosecuting the case.