Criminals who scammed Microsoft out of R4 million nailed

The Hawks and United States law enforcement have arrested three men suspected of scamming Microsoft through business email compromise (BEC) fraud.

In a statement issued on Thursday, they said that the suspects allegedly created a fraudulent business email to buy 200 laptops worth approximately R4 million from Microsoft in the US, to be delivered to Pretoria.

The suspects were arrested on fraud-related charges and possession of suspected stolen property.

“On 28 November, the Hawks received information regarding another consignment of 140 laptops worth approximately R7.9 million which arrived at OR Tambo International Airport,” the South African Police Service (SAPS) said in a statement.

“The investigation team monitored the consignment and pounced on the syndicate members whilst they were offloading the alleged stolen property at a residential premises in Pretoria.”

The three suspects who were arrested are aged 31, 34, and 40. They were processed at Wierdabrug in Pretoria and they are expected to appear in the Pretoria Specialised Commercial Crimes Court on the afternoon of 10 December 2020.

“The public needs to be extremely wary on the growing threat posed by unscrupulous organised crime networks who are targeting businesses and unsuspecting individuals,” said the national head for the Hawks, Lieutenant General Godfrey Lebeya.

“In recent years, BEC fraud scams are emerging as a challenge and the Hawks is committed to work in collaboration with local and international law enforcement agencies to detect, combat and respond to this phenomenon.”

The SAPS said that the investigation into this case continues and that more arrests cannot be ruled out.

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Criminals who scammed Microsoft out of R4 million nailed