Sila Jeffrey Ndungi, a Kenyan hacker has been jailed in the US for hacking and stealing Ksh434 million from the US government.
According to revelations by US taxman, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Ndungi worked with several other hackers to steal the amount through tax refund cheques.
At least Ksh200 million was wired to his personal accounts, with Ksh180 million yet to be traced to date.
The Asset Recovery Agency (ARA) is now targeting the only traceable Ksh20 million in his accounts, since the money is obtained from criminal activities.
“Preliminary investigations established that the funds are proceeds of crime. The respondent (Ndungi) engaged in a complex money-laundering scheme whose intent was to conceal or disguise the nature, source, location, disposition or movement of the funds,” ARA said in court documents.
In one of the instances, Ndungi sought to cash a cheque of a dead US national, Cynthia Short, worth Ksh4.8 million. Short was already dead at this time.
During the scheme, one Lydia Breaux acted as a stateside operative with a contact in the IRS who bought the cheques.
A similar tax refund was also filed in Dietrich Eipper’s name, with an IP address associated with Mr Ndungi.
Ndungi is said to have stolen at least Ksh434 million from dead pensioners in the US by presenting to the United States Department of Treasury cheques filed electronically from Kenya.
It is believed that Ndungi could have been working for a complex and lethal syndicate, that would not allow even a loss of one shilling.
This was revealed to the IRS agent, after he asked for a discount.
“There are a lot of people involved with these cheques, if I tell them something happened, they can kill me,” Ndungi told the IRS agent.
“I gotta tell you this is not my area, I tell you there are a lot of other guys. I cannot talk on their behalf.”
Ndungi had been jailed for 10 years but he is awaiting a review of his sentence, after judges discovered that the scheme could have been wider.
It was discovered that the account that he used to siphon the money was used 1,000 times after he was taken into custody.
It is expected that he might receive a lighter sentence.