Justice Department Gathers Stakeholders, Advocates for Inaugural National Elder Justice Law Enforcement Summit
A Florida man pleaded guilty yesterday in the Southern District of Florida to money laundering for his role in funneling the proceeds of scams against American consumers and businesses to co-conspirators located in Nigeria.
Niselio Barros Garcia Jr., 50, of Kissimmee, was indicted by a grand jury on July 12, 2023. According to court documents, Garcia supplied bank accounts to his co-conspirators for the purpose of receiving proceeds from romance scams, business email compromises and other fraud schemes. After receiving the criminal proceeds, Garcia used a cryptocurrency exchange to conceal and transfer the funds in Bitcoin to co-conspirators in Nigeria. Garcia personally laundered over $2.3 million of criminal proceeds and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.
Business email compromises involve criminals hacking or spoofing business email accounts to initiate fraudulent money transfers. Romance scams involve fraudsters creating fake online personas to gain the trust and affection of victims, leading to financial exploitation. These schemes not only cause significant financial losses, but also deeply impact the lives of victims.
“This prosecution demonstrates our ongoing commitment to protecting the public from complex financial crimes,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This case serves as a reminder of the sophisticated methods employed by criminals and the need for vigilance in the digital age. The Justice Department remains committed to aggressively pursuing individuals and groups involved in these kinds of illicit activities.”
Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced in the Southern District of Florida on April 23. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Four additional defendants have been charged in this scheme but remain at large.
The FBI Buffalo Field Office investigated the case.
Trial Attorneys Lauren Elfner and Matthew Robinson of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting the case.
If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is available at the National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This Justice Department hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalized support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim and identifying relevant next steps. Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies and provide resources and referrals on a case-by-case basis. Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud, and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. ET. English, Spanish and other languages are available.
For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts, visit www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. Information about the Justice Department’s Elder Fraud Initiative is available at www.justice.gov/elderjustice.