Fake Dell support rep admits to talking US colleges out of $874,000

A charlatan who passed himself off as a staffer working in equipment and services has pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $750,000 from the University of California San Diego (UCSD).

The Justice Department (DOJ) announced on Thursday that Amil Hassan Raage has pleaded guilty to receiving the money as part of a spear-phishing scheme.

On 23 July 2018, UCSD received the spear-phishing email, which posed as a legitimate business communication coming from a for-real Dell email account. The email instructed UCSD to redirect the payments it owed Dell for equipment and services to Raage’s Wells Fargo bank account in Minnesota.

UCSD employees swallowed the hook and did as they were told.

Of course, that was no Dell communique. The email actually came from one of Raage’s criminal buddies in Kenya. Between 8 August through 12 September 2018, UCSD sent Raage 28 payments totaling $749,158 before it found out it had been conned and stopped the payments.

As soon as the money arrived, Raage would withdraw it as cash or transfer it to another account.

It wasn’t just UCSD, though. Raage and his gang did the same thing to another, unnamed university, this one in Pennsylvania. Again using a fake Dell account, they told the university staff to redirect their Dell payments to a bank account in Minnesota, again controlled by Raage.

During January 2018, the Pennsylvania university wired six payments totaling $123,643.77 to Raage’s bank account before the university was alerted to the fraud and stopped payments.

Raage actually skipped town after the bank froze the accounts he used in the UCSD theft. He fled to Kenya on 22 September 2018. That didn’t stop the FBI from tracking him down, though: the FBI’s Legal Attaché in Kenya worked with Kenyan law enforcement and the DOJ’s Office of International Affairs. Kenyan police arrested Raage on 7 May 2019, and extradited him back to the US on 23 May 2019, to face prosecution.

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