Lithuanian arrested for $100 million BEC scams
Criminal charges were announced against Evaldas Rimasauskas for orchestrating a fraudulent business email compromise (BEC) scheme that induced two U.S.-based Internet companies to wire a total of over $100 million to bank accounts controlled by Rimasauskas. He was arrested late last week by authorities in Lithuania on the basis of a provisional arrest warrant.
Rimasauskas is charged with one count of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, and one count of aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison.
“This case should serve as a wake-up call to all companies – even the most sophisticated – that they too can be victims of phishing attacks by cyber criminals. And this arrest should serve as a warning to all cyber criminals that we will work to track them down, wherever they are, to hold them accountable,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim.
How the scam worked
According to the allegations contained in the Indictment:
From at least in or around 2013 through in or about 2015, Rimasauskas registered and incorporated a company in Latvia (“Company-2”) which bore the same name as an Asian-based computer hardware manufacturer (“Company-1”), and opened, maintained, and controlled various accounts at banks located in Latvia and Cyprus in the name of Company-2.
Thereafter, fraudulent phishing emails were sent to employees and agents of the Victim Companies, which regularly conducted multimillion-dollar transactions with Company-1, directing that money the Victim Companies owed Company-1 for legitimate goods and services be sent to Company-2’s bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus, which were controlled by Rimasauskas.
These emails purported to be from employees and agents of Company-1, and were sent from email accounts that were designed to create the false appearance that they were sent by employees and agents of Company-1, but in truth and in fact, were neither sent nor authorized by Company-1. This scheme succeeded in deceiving the Victim Companies into complying with the fraudulent wiring instructions.
After the Victim Companies wired funds intended for Company-1 to Company-2’s bank accounts in Latvia and Cyprus, Rimasauskas caused the stolen funds to be quickly wired into different bank accounts in various locations throughout the world, including Latvia, Cyprus, Slovakia, Lithuania, Hungary, and Hong Kong.
Rimasauskas also caused forged invoices, contracts, and letters that falsely appeared to have been executed and signed by executives and agents of the Victim Companies, and which bore false corporate stamps embossed with the Victim Companies’ names, to be submitted to banks in support of the large volume of funds that were fraudulently transmitted via wire transfer.
Through these false and deceptive representations over the course of the scheme, Rimasauskas caused the Victim Companies to transfer a total of over $100,000,000 in U.S. currency from the Victim Companies’ bank accounts to Company-2’s bank accounts.