Lake Charles, Louisiana, Man Convicted in Nigerian Mail Fraud Scheme
TYLER, Texas – A 38-year-old Lake Charles, Louisiana, man has been convicted in a Nigerian mail fraud scheme in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Heesham Broussard, also known as Sudan, was found guilty by a jury for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, two counts of mail fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft following a four day trial before U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider.
According to information presented in court, Broussard participated in a Nigerian-based mail fraud scheme that distributed counterfeit postal money orders and checks. The scheme targeted victims throughout the United States. Victims of the scheme were led to believe that they were working as mystery shoppers. Broussard served as a re-shipper or dispatcher of counterfeit postal money orders and checks. As part of the scheme, he sent packages to more than 600 intended victims and sent counterfeit items bearing a face value of more than $1 million. Broussard was indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan. 22, 2014.
Broussard’s co-conspirators, Olumide Lalemi, also known as Paul Smith, the Nigerian organizer of the scheme, and Victoria Williams, a re-shipper, have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Lalemi and Williams will appear before Judge Schneider for sentencing. At sentencing, both defendants face up to 20 years in federal prison.
Broussard faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the conspiracy conviction, 20 years for each mail fraud conviction, and two years for each aggravated identity theft conviction. A sentencing date has not been sent.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld and D. Ryan Locker.
Any individuals with knowledge of these or other mail fraud violations are encouraged to contact the Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line at 866-DHS-2-ICE (866-347-2423) or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service Tip Line at 877-876-2455.