In a significant legal development, a Nigerian citizen, Okechukwu Iwuji, along with two others, has been found guilty and sentenced to prison for their involvement in a complex advance fee and money laundering fraud scheme that defrauded victims of over $2.6 million.
The conviction was announced by Shawn Anderson, an attorney from the US Attorney’s Office in Guam. The 38-year-old Iwuji and his co-conspirators, Sally Roberto, 56, from Santa Rita, and Monique Jones, 49, from Dallas, Texas, orchestrated a fraudulent scheme in which they duped investors based in Guam into paying fabricated fees for an imaginary multimillion-dollar inheritance.
The verdict was delivered on Tuesday and Thursday, resulting in jail sentences for all three individuals. Okechukwu Iwuji, who had previously lived in Orlando, Florida, was handed a 45-month prison sentence along with three years of supervised release. He was ordered to pay $475,710 in restitution, a mandatory assessment fee of $100, and a forfeiture money judgment of $475,710. Iwuji had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
The elaborate conspiracy saw Iwuji extracting a total of $475,710 from victim funds, which were then transferred to third-party Nigerian bank accounts. Sally Roberto was sentenced to 33 months imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and required to pay $1,030,990 in restitution. She was also subject to a $3,900 mandatory assessment fee and a forfeiture money judgment of $1,030,990.
Similarly, Monique Jones received a 36-month prison sentence, three years of supervised release, and was ordered to make restitution payments of $387,160. She was obligated to pay a mandatory assessment fee of $1,600 and a forfeiture money judgment of $801,210. Lastly, Monique Jones was sentenced to 48 months in prison, with three years of supervised release. She was required to pay restitution of $578,130, along with a $2,700 mandatory assessment fee and a forfeiture money judgment of $1,111,280.
Special Agent Steven Merrill from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) underscored the importance of such convictions, noting that they serve as a deterrent against advance fee scams and fraudulent inheritance schemes. Merrill cautioned the public to be vigilant against offers that sound too good to be true, emphasizing that the FBI remains committed to investigating and prosecuting those who engage in such criminal activities.
The successful outcome of this case was attributed to collaborative efforts across various jurisdictions, showcasing the effectiveness of cross-border cooperation in combatting transnational financial crimes.