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WASHINGTON – An Indiana man was arrested yesterday in Indianapolis in connection with allegations that he laundered the proceeds of an international advance-fee scheme through a used-car dealership he owned and operated. The scam allegedly involved false promises of investment funding by individuals impersonating U.S. bank officials to victims around the world, who were told they had to make certain payments before they could supposedly receive their funding. In some cases, the perpetrators allegedly met with the victims at local U.S. embassies or consulates and fabricated U.S. government documents to make the victims believe the U.S. government was sponsoring the investment agreements. Proceeds of the scheme were allegedly laundered through U.S. bank accounts and diverted back to the scheme’s perpetrators in Nigeria.
The article goes on to state the following:
Tochukwu Nwosisi, 47, of Indianapolis, was charged in a superseding indictment filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas with one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments and one count of concealment money laundering. The superseding indictment includes charges against five other individuals who were previously charged in an indictment filed in February 2018 in connection with the same scheme. Nwosisi made his initial appearance yesterday in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
According to the superseding indictment, Nwosisi owned and operated a used car dealership in Indianapolis called Indyrides LLC. As part of his alleged involvement in the conspiracy, Nwosisi received international and domestic wire transfers from victims of the advance-fee scheme into his business bank accounts. The victims were under the impression that such payments were necessary to receive their investment funding. Nwosisi allegedly used the victims’ payments to, among other things, pay himself a portion of the funds and purchase vehicles that he then shipped to the scheme’s perpetrators in Nigeria. As banks closed his accounts for suspicious activity, Nwosisi continued to open new bank accounts to receive payments from victims.
The Indianapolis Business Journal reported additional details on the scheme:
Five other individuals from outside of Indiana were previously indicted in the case in February. Investigators say some of the individuals falsely portrayed themselves as agents of New York-based JPMorgan Chase and North Carolina-based Branch Banking & Trust Corp. to make fraudulent investment deals.
Investigators say perpetrators, primarily in Nigeria, impersonated U.S. bank officials over the phone and online to victims. Some met with the victims at local U.S. embassies or consulates, and fabricated documents to make the victims believe the U.S. government was sponsoring the investment agreements.
CLICK HERE to view the full indictment posted on the Department of Justice website.
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