Criminal cases vs Nigerian national, 2 Filipinos in BDO accounts ‘hacking’ now filed in courts

Department of Justice

Criminal cases have been filed before trial courts against a Nigerian national and two more Filipinos in the “hacking” of Banco de Oro (BDO) depositors’ accounts last December.

Since trial courts in the National Capital Region and other places in the country are physically closed, the cases against them were “E-filed yesterday, Jan. 27,” Assistant State Prosecutor Honey Rose E. Delgado, spokesperson of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG), said today, Jan. 28.

Charged with violations of Republic Act No. 8484, the Access Devices Regulation Act of 2012, before the Angeles City regional trial court (RTC) was Nigerian Ifesinachi Fountain Anaekwe alias “Daddy Champ.”

The two Filipinos, Ronelyn Panaligan and Clay Revillosa, were charged with violations of RA 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, before the Pasig City RTC and Quezon City RTC, respectively.

The three accused were among the five persons arrested by the National Bureau of Investigation-Cybercrime Division (NBI-CCD) in separate entrapment operations conducted in Pampanga and Metro Manila last Jan. 18 and 19.

Also arrested were Jheron Anthony Taupa, who was nabbed last Jan. 18 in Palmayo, Florida Blanca, Pampanga, and Nigerian national Chukwuemeka Peter Nwadi who was apprehended with Anaekwe in Mabalacat, Pampanga also last Jan. 18.

Panaligan and Revillosa were arrested in separate entrapment operations conducted by the NBI-CCD last Jan. 19 in Pasig City and Quezon City, respectively.

Taupa was charged last Jan. 25 before the RTC of Guagua, Pampanga with violations of violating RA 10175.

DOJ prosecutors, however, decided to conduct further preliminary investigation on the complaints against Nwadi for violations of RA 8484.

“Other than his (Nwadi’s) presence during the entrapment operation, no other evidence was adduced by complainants as to his participation on the trafficking of unauthorized access devices. Thus, additional evidence must be presented to determine if there is probable cause for the indictment of Nwadi. Meanwhile, Nwadi will be released from detention,” the DOJ said in a statement issued last Jan. 26.

“A Motion for Issuance of Hold Departure Order will be filed against Anaekwe, and a Motion for Issuance of Precautionary Hold Departure Order will be filed against Nwadi,” the DOJ said.

In its preliminary investigation, the DOJ said:

“According to the NBI-CCD, the tasks of these 5 individuals are compartmentalized – that is, their respective participations are vital, without which, fraudulent transfers or illegal access of online accounts would not be possible. The NBI-CCD explained that the acts are being compartmentalized to prevent the transfers from being traced to a particular person or a syndicate.

“The NBI-CCD likewise equated the modus operandi to money laundering - after hackers have illegally accessed the online banking account or banking system, they would transfer the money to a dummy bank account.

“Thereafter, another transfer would then be made either to another dummy bank account, Gcash or Paymaya account. Money mules are then engaged to personally withdraw or cash-out the stolen money, who would earn by getting commissions from the total amount of withdrawn money. It is only after a series of transfers would the stolen money be moved to the syndicate’s personal accounts.”