PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten (Tuesday March 17, 2020) — Local authorities have informed Social & Health Insurances SZV that on March 2, 2020 the Department of Justice of United States in collaboration with the United States Secret Service have charged 11 persons for money laundering and wire fraud schemes, in connection to the international phishing scam in which SZV and other organizations were targeted.
According to U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, nine of the defendants are in custody, and all 11 face serious federal charges. The suspect that targeted SZV is a U.S. citizen residing in New York. He has been arrested and charged.
In March 2019, SZV was targeted by the international phishing scam that resulted in a wire transfer of USD$500.000, – to an account in the United States. SZV immediately reported this to local and international authorities. The investigation revealed that several companies around the world were targeted by a money laundering ring of 11 members and a total amount of 5 million dollars was embezzled. All suspects reside in the United States of America and 9 of them are in custody. None of the suspects are linked to Sint Maarten.
As a good corporate citizen, SZV warned local businesses and institutions to be on the “lookout” for what was an ongoing trend at the time. The scam took place via e-mail correspondence, where the scammers posed as a company insider that requested and approved financial transactions. The scam was of such a sophisticated nature that protocol was not breached.
At present, SZV is pending the formalization of the proceedings. Together with legal counsel and law enforcement, the next steps will be determined.
Excerpts of March 2, 2020 press release and case details published on www.justice.gov: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/11-members-money-laundering-ring-charged
FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “The threat of cyber-enabled fraud has long been publicized, and many people assume they know enough to avoid being victimized by this type of crime. The truth is, however, fraudsters are often very skilled at targeting their victims and masking their behavior in a way that often goes undetected until it’s too late. Today’s charges are yet another reminder to the public to exercise due diligence in both personal and professional online settings as we work together to defeat cybercrime worldwide.”
CBP Director of New York Field Operations Troy Miller said: “This case exemplifies the collaborative law enforcement efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is proud to have collaborated with our fellow law enforcement partners during this investigation leading to today’s arrests.”