Operation reWired – a globe-spanning, four-month-long crackdown on email fraud involving law enforcement agencies in 10 countries – has resulted in the arrest of 281 people suspected of running BEC (business email compromise) scams.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday announced that the operation, which kicked off in May 2019, led to the seizure of nearly $3.7 million in assets and repatriations.

Out of the 281 arrests, 167 were in Nigeria, 74 in the US, 18 in Turkey, and 15 in Ghana. Arrests were also made in France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, and the UK.

Chief Don Fort, with the US Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) Criminal Investigation unit, said in the DOJ’s release that the criminal network was complex, and it had a lot more going on besides talking businesses into making bogus wire transfers. Investigators discovered that the conspirators stole more than 250,000 identities and filed more than 10,000 fraudulent tax returns, attempting to receive more than $91 million in tax refunds, he said.

The collection of law enforcement agencies who coordinated their efforts in Operation reWired is a who’s who list: besides the DOJ, it included the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the US Department of the Treasury, the US Postal Inspection Service, the US Secret Service, and the US Department of State. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen also gave a shout-out to the FBI, as well as to more than two dozen US Attorneys’ Offices, the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS’s) Criminal Investigation unit, state and local law enforcement partners in the US, and law enforcement partners in Nigeria, Ghana, Turkey, France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, and the UK.