Posing as Americans, North Korean technology workers secured remote work contracts with hundreds of U.S. companies as part of a scheme to help fund Pyongyang’s illicit nuclear weapons and missile programs, the U.S. government said on Thursday.

For three years, starting in October 2020, a U.S. national named Christina Chapman of Arizona helped three North Korean IT workers obtain "illicit telework employment” using the identities of U.S. citizens, earning about $6.8 million, the State Department said.

More than 300 U.S. companies were defrauded in the effort, the Justice Department said in a separate release, announcing charges against Chapman and other alleged co-conspirators.