TWO MEN PLEAD GUILTY TO IMPERSONATING U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION OFFICERS IN ADVANCE FEE FRAUD SCHEME
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and David P. D’Amato, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), announced that defendants Saleumsak Khammungkhune, 57, of San Diego, and David Johnson, a/k/a Ukoha Eke, 39, a Nigerian national residing in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, pleaded guilty to conspiring to impersonate United States Officers and to commit wire fraud.
David Johnson pleaded guilty earlier today before U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas to one count of conspiracy to impersonate a federal officer and to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. His sentencing is scheduled for November 16, 2010. On August 17, 2010, Saleumsak Khammungkhune pleaded guilty to the same charge and is facing up to five years in prison at his sentencing on October 26, 2010.
The defendants admitted to posing as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers in a conspiracy which contacted victims through the Internet. Victims were told that $10 million had arrived for them from Nigeria, but that they had to pay U.S. Customs duties and fees to obtain the money. Through this “advance fee” scheme, conspirators defrauded victims out of approximately $300,000.
ICE special agents, in two sting operations, arrested Johnson in Greenbelt, Maryland, on May 13, 2010, and Khammungkhune at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, on May 15, 2010.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE’s Office of Professional Responsibility. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerry S. Baron.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.