A Nigerian national working alongside a Nigerian crime ring was sentenced by a judge to 10 years and one month in prison. Olugbenga Lawal (33) was a Nigerian national living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He worked directly with the leader of a crime ring operating at least as far back as 2019.
The scam in question was a romance scam frequently run on elderly individuals. The gang would trick the victim into falling in love with them over long periods. At the same time, they’d siphon money from them, either in small amounts over time or in one lump sum. Once the scam is complete, the scammers leave the victims alone.
Lawal’s place in the scheme was money laundering. He helped the crime ring launder millions of dollars of victims’ money.
“He engaged in import/export transactions involving the shipment of cars to Nigeria and currency exchange business transactions to facilitate the repatriation of the organization’s fraud proceeds back to Nigeria,” the US Department of Justice writes in a press release detailing the crimes.
Lawal was found guilty in August 2023 by a federal jury. He pleads guilty to transporting at least $3.6 million. To do this, he used multiple bank accounts to obfuscate his involvement under the company name Luxe Logistics LLC. He was found with controlled bank accounts with at least 5 financial institutions.
On top of a 10-year (and one-month) sentence, Lawal was fined $1.46 million in restitution.
Three of his coconspirators, Michael Hermann, Rita Assane, and Dwight Baines, also plead guilty in their respective trials.
“Trial Attorneys Mary K. Daly and Michael Grady of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jesse S. Wenger and Meredith Ruggles for District of Delaware prosecuted the case,” reads the press release. “The FBI investigated the case.”
Source of Article