California Man Arrested on Charges of Conspiracy to Launder Funds of Business Mail Compromise (BEC) Fraud
BOSTON - A Los Angeles man was arrested yesterday and charged in connection with a conspiracy to launder funds derived from Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud schemes.
Ochenetchouwe Adegor Ederaine Jr., a/k/a Ochenetchouwe Adegor, a/k/a David Tecum, a/k/a Gary Dube, a/k/a Joel Akibo, a/k/a James Oliver, a/k/a Israel Patrick, a/k/a Michael Baker, 29, was indicted on one count of money laundering conspiracy. He will appear in federal court in Boston at a later date.
According to court documents, around March 2016, Ederaine was a member of an organization that engaged in wire fraud and related criminal activity. Ederaine laundered the proceeds of that fraud by engaging in bank transactions designed to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the fraud proceeds. Ederaine opened numerous bank accounts under false identities and withdrew large sums of money.
Specifically, it is alleged that between March 2016 and November 2017, Ederaine used counterfeit passports and other false identification documents to open approximately 23 bank accounts at different banks in the greater Los Angeles area using six different false identities. Once Ederaine opened a bank account, that account would receive wire transfers consisting of proceeds of various fraudulent schemes.
In one instance, Ederaine’s co-conspirators gained access to email accounts belonging to a Massachusetts attorney engaged in real estate closings. Subsequent emails sent from co-conspirators to recipients in Massachusetts “spoofed” the attorney’s account, which caused the purchaser in a real estate transaction to transfer $531,981 (intended to be used for payment in connection with a real estate transaction) to the account of a woman who in turn sent $60,000 to an account in the name of “David Tecum,” one of the fraudulent identities used by Ederaine. Shortly after receiving the funds in the “Tecum” account, Ederaine withdrew approximately $9,000 in cash from the account.
Ederaine faces a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the funds laundered in the conspiracy. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, made the announcement today. Assistance was also provided by the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI in the Central District of California. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David D’Addio and Amy Harman Burkart of Lelling’s Cybercrime Unit are prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.