A Duluth, Georgia, man who participated in an international business email compromise scheme, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud and money laundering, officials said Monday.
Kerby Rigaud, 27, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Georgia.
“Business email compromise scams continue to inflict serious harm on our citizens and businesses,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We urge everyone to carefully scrutinize any emails they receive directing the transfer of money via wire. We will continue to pursue justice for the victims of this pernicious financial threat.”
“Rigaud and his co-conspirators used cyberspace to organize a complex criminal scheme that crossed borders and defrauded numerous people right here in Georgia,” said Kenneth Cronin, special agent in charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office. “The United States Secret Service and our law enforcement partners will continue to place a high priority on investigating cases that take advantage of unsuspecting victims.”
From April 2015 through April 2016, Rigaud served as a key player in an international business email compromise scam impacting victims across the U.S., including in the Northern District of Georgia, said Pak.
In numerous instances, victims, including those identified in the indictment as T.W., A.P., and J.L., received emails that purported to be from trusted sources, including banking representatives and closing agents. The emails directed the victims to wire money to specific bank accounts, some of which were opened in the metro-Atlanta area.
Rigaud’s co-conspirators sent the emails, and in some instances, they hacked into victim’s email accounts. In others, they “spoofed” the email addresses, which means the co-conspirators took steps to make the email appear as if it were sent by a trusted source, when in reality, it was sent from a different account by a malicious actor.
Rigaud recruited individuals who agreed to let him use their bank accounts for the purpose of receiving large wires from unwitting victims. After receiving the wires, Rigaud directed his recruits on where to send the money, including a number of financial institutions in Asia. Investigators believe Rigaud and his co-conspirators attempted to steal over $1 million dollars during the timeframe of the conspiracy.
Rigaud’s sentencing is set for June 14 before U.S. District Judge Eleanor L. Ross.