Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding State and Local Governments
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A Ohio man pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud state and local governments of millions of dollars.
According to court documents, Robert Mutua Muli, 59, of Carrollton, conspired with others to defraud state and local governments by fraudulently pretending to be legitimate government vendors. Using sham email addresses, the conspirators sent government entities bogus vendor payment information that caused government entities to make large payments to bank accounts controlled by Muli. Muli then quickly transferred the fraudulently obtained funds to himself and to his co-conspirators, some of whom were located in Kenya. During the conspiracy, Muli intended to steal over $2 million from the victim government entities.
For example, on Aug. 6, 2018, Victim 1, a Virginia county government that had an agreement with Dell Marketing LP (Dell) to purchase computer hardware for its public schools, received an email from an account falsely claiming to be a Dell employee. The fraudulent email account was very similar to a Dell employee’s true email address and contained revised banking information for Dell. The revised banking information changed payment information to an account controlled by Muli. As a result, between Aug. 8 and Sept. 10, 2018, Victim 1 sent 28 payments totaling approximately $1.3 million for public school computing needs to an account controlled by Muli, which Muli later distributed among himself and his co-conspirators. In addition to Victim 1, during the scheme Muli and his co-conspirators defrauded the City of Detroit, City of Philadelphia, and State of Vermont.
Muli pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when sentenced on October 4. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Charles Dayoub, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Criminal Division, FBI Washington Field Office, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady accepted the plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Anthony W. Mariano are prosecuting the case.
A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:19-cr-186.