Ghana: IMPRINTS INC.
The company Imprints, Inc., based in Anna, IL (USA) is a distributor of commercial screen printing and embroidery products whose goods are sold through the Internet. In October 2005 a young man representing himself as "Reverend Bismark" ordered about 1,000 T-shirts (14 boxes) from Imprints, Inc. The goods were valued at about US$6,500 and were paid for with stolen credit card numbers sent through Internet relay. The order was to be shipped to one Abdul Razak Kamal in Ghana.
The items were shipped by DHL/Danzas Air around 18th of October 2005. It was not until after Imprints Inc. shipped the T-shirts that they found out the credit cards used for the transaction were stolen. The Sales Manager at Imprints Inc. contacted a colleague who had suffered similar losses, and the incident was referred to Human Rights and Justice Group International.
HRGJI reported the matter to the Ghana Police Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D), and the Ghana INTERPOL, who in turn set up surveillance of the DHL/Danzas office at Accra Airport. We were able to track the shipment up to its arrival in Ghana on the 12 November 2005. After about three weeks when the T-shirts had not been delivered to the addressee, Abdul Razak Kamal started threatening to take action against Imprints Inc. if the goods did not arrive in Ghana.
On 12 November 2005 the goods arrived at DHL in Ghana and the consignee was informed. On 21 November 2005, six men were apprehended while attempting to collect the boxes from DHL. Apparently, they did not have sufficient funds to cover the customs charges needed to clear the 14 boxes. Ghana Police CID arrested them when they applied to clear a parallel consignment of 5 boxes, also from the U.S.A. Abdul Razak Kamal and five accomplices are now facing criminal charges in Ghana. In December 2005, the Ghana Police CID charged them with stealing and conspiracy. Abdul Razak had already defrauded many companies in the United States through stolen credit cards before this incident.
Imprints, Inc. does not currently maintain an eCommerce shop.
Nigeria: ULTIMATE CRYSTAL INC.
Ultimate Crystal Inc. is a small company based in Roseville, MI (USA) which deals in pendants, jewelry, and crystal gift items, primarily through an online eCommerce shop hosted by Yahoo. Ultimate Crystal Inc. shipped goods worth over US$10,000 to one Mr. Korede Onas in Nigeria, alias "John Jerry" who purported to be an international businessmen. Mr. Onas in turn introduced accomplices to the company. These accomplices bought the items in question using credit card numbers stolen from United States citizens.
After the company had shipped jewelry and other products worth over US$10,000, the Manageer was informed by his bank that the credit cards were stolen, and the money paid out to the company would have to be returned. This single incident liquidated the company Ultimate Crystal Inc. and forced them out of business for several months.
The Justice Group offered Ultimate Crystal Inc. legal assistance in locating and prosecuting the perpetrators. With the assistance of the Nigerian Police and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), the thieves were arrested and almost all of the shipped items have been recovered. The goods are currently being held as evidence in the trial, but will be released to American Embassy in Nigeria for onward transfer to the owner Ultimate Crystal Inc. in the U.S. as soon as the EFCC and the Nigeria Police have completed their criminal proceedings.
Nigeria: WEB JOINT CORPORATION
The company Web Joint Corporation was anothr victim of the notorious Mr. Korede Onas, a polytechnic student in Nigeria. Web Joints shipped goods worth over US$40,000.00 to Mr. Onas and 10 accomplices, who used a total of 20 aliases to process their fraudulent orders, all shipped to the same address in Nigeria.
The Nigerian Police, acting on a petition from the Justice Group to the Commissioner of Police in Lagos, arrested Mr. Korede Onas for the first time in May, 2005 at the Nigeria Postal Office Service, Surulere. In September 2005, the Justice Group learned that he was the leader of an organized group of criminals and was guiding his accomplices in perpetrating these fraudulent credit card transactions.
Based on another petition by the Justice Group to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) he was rearrested with some of his accomplices, and is currently in EFCC custody. A portion of the stolen goods has been recovered with the assistance of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Nigeria Postal Service Agency (NIPOT). The items recovered will equally be released to the American Embassy in Nigeria after investigations by law enforcement agencies handling the matter are completed. Web Joint Corporation was nearly liquidated before it was discovered that the transactions were fraudulent.
To date, the Human Rights and Justice Group has prevented fraudulent shipments to Nigeria of goods worth over US$500,000. In most cases, the illicit transactions have been intercepted online, thereby preventing shipment before the goods are in transit. Many other cases are still pending in which confidentiality prevents our disclosing details while investigations are underway. In the above-mentioned cases, the Internet has played a vital role in the arrest of the perpetrators.
The Human Rights and Justice Group International maintains communication with the various companies defrauded as well as the law enforcements agents of the various countries where these criminals are residing. HRGJI has demonstrated that the Internet is a vital tool for securing the fundamental rights of online business owners and as well as the rights of consumers. Technology donations from KITE (computer equipment and internet connectivity), Kabissa (technology training, web hosting and email), and individual US citizens have facilitated this research and benefitted a large sector of society both in Nigeria and the US.
Nevertheless, goods worth thousands of dollars are still being shipped to Africa on a daily basis to countries including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Togo, Cote D' Ivoire, Senegal, and Cameroon. HRGJI has recently discovered yet another credit card generating web site at www.elfqrin.com (registered in Italy), and we are taking systematic measures to locate the owners of the site so that it can be shut down.
As Cybercrime is not constrained within national boundaries, it can only be properly and efficiently addressed by having some international understanding as to what it is and how it should be fought. Our experience has sown that national security issues have made the attempt to establish common standards a daunting task in Nigeria and abroad. Nevertheless, HRGJI continues our efforts as we firmly believe that there is no alternative but to succeed.
Despite recent inroads in the pursuit of international cybercriminals, much work still needs to be done. We encourage those who are victims of electronic theft, as well as any who may have information leading to the apprehension of these criminals to contact the Justice Group to file a report. All information provided to HRGJI will be held in strict confidence.