A Nigerian, Okechukwu Iwuji, alongside two others, has been convicted and jailed for advance fee and money laundering scheme involving over $2m.
An attorney from the US Attorney’s Office, Guam, Shawn Anderson, announced that 38-year-old Iwuji and the other convicts fraudulently obtained approximately $2,600,000 by inducing Guam-based investors to pay bogus fees for a multimillion-dollar inheritance.
The other convicts are Sally Roberto, 56, from Santa Rita in Belize, Central America; Monique Jones, 49, from Dallas, Texas.
They were on Tuesday and Thursday sentenced for their crimes.
Iwuji, a Nigerian citizen who previously resided in Orlando, Florida, was sentenced to 45 months imprisonment; three years supervised release, ordered to pay $475,710 in restitution, a $100 mandatory assessment fee, and a $475,710 forfeiture money judgment, after previously pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
“This far-ranging conspiracy preyed on 60 victims, nearly all of whom live in Guam,” Anderson said in a statement published by the US Attorney Office.
“These scams are difficult to investigate and prosecute due to the interstate and transnational nature of the criminal activity. Our success in this matter is the result of a team effort across multiple jurisdictions, with outstanding leadership by prosecutor David.
“We will continue to pursue the collection of restitution for those harmed by the defendant’s conduct. The public must remain vigilant against this type of fraud,” Anderson added.
As part of the conspiracy, Iwuji obtained at least $475,710 of victim funds from Roberto and other co-conspirators and transferred some funds to third party-Nigerian bank accounts.
Sally was sentenced to 33 months imprisonment; three years supervised release; ordered to pay $1,030,990 in restitution, a $3,900 mandatory assessment fee, and a $1,030,990 forfeiture money judgment.
Mekayda was sentenced to 36 months imprisonment; three years supervised release; ordered to pay $387,160 in restitution, a $1,600.00 mandatory assessment fee, and a $801,210 forfeiture money judgment.
Monique was sentenced to 48 months imprisonment; three years supervised release; ordered to pay $578,130 in restitution, a $2,700 mandatory assessment fee, and a $1,111,280 forfeiture money judgment.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation Agent, Special Agent Steven Merrill, said that the FBI would closely monitor similar cases and ensure that the perpetrators were brought to justice.
“This sentence should make the public aware that these types of advance fees, associated with inheritance scams, will be investigated by the FBI and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“If it is too good to be true, it probably is,” Merrill said.