Two New Jersey men have pleaded guilty for their roles in a scam that used phony identification documents to open multiple checking accounts to launder and steal more than $1 million.
The two men, Abiatu Umah and Emmanuel Awa, pleaded guilty in Newark federal court last week to Informations charging them with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.
According to court documents from February of 2009 until August of 2010 both defendants participated in a fraudulent scheme by opening business checking accounts at multiple banks. Umah and Awa used these accounts to receive funds. With these funds they, without authorization, wire transferred and otherwise transferred from accounts, within and outside the United States.
When they opened said bank accounts they used fake United Kingdom passports using the aliases “Emanuel Albert Smith” and “Edwin John Nicolas.” They frequently used the name of the compromised account as the name of the recipient account, adding terms such as “LLC” or “Corporation” to make it appear as though the two accounts were related.
The two men opened more than 14 recipient accounts and received around $1 million in proceeds derived from the compromised accounts. They then used those proceeds for their own personal benefit.
The men face up to 30 years in prison for the wire fraud charge alone with a fine of up to $1 million. The money laundering charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 – Source.
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