Detroit man pleads guilty to money laundering conspiracy
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Carl Faheem Muhammad, 32, of Detroit, Michigan, pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to launder over $183,000 before Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny. Muhammad is scheduled to be sentenced on September 11, 2013. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Fauzia K. Mattingly, who is handling the case, Muhammad directed eight other Detroit area residents to receive payments from victims who had applied for loans over the Internet with seemingly legitimate financial lenders which were in fact virtual companies being operated by online scammers in Canada. After wire transfers from the victims were received in Detroit, Muhammad transported the funds to the scammers in Canada. The victims, some of whom were from Western New York, were led to believe that once they paid the up-front fees, they would receive the loan proceeds. The victims never received the loans or a refund of their payments. To date, defrauded victims have lost more than $3.5 million to the loan scheme, and approximately 2,700 victims of the fraud have been identified by law enforcement. A total of 21 people have been arrested in connection with this fraud scheme. The defendant is the fourth to be convicted.
The plea is the result of an investigation by Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge, James C. Spero.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 11, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Skretny.