Florida Man Sentenced for Money Laundering
BOSTON – A Florida man was sentenced today in federal court in Boston for laundering the proceeds of online investment fraud schemes.
Tochukwu Abel Edeh, 33, a Nigerian national previously residing in Jacksonville, Fla., was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Edeh was also ordered to pay restitution of $2,590,987 and forfeiture of $810,966. In September 2022, Edeh pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of conspiracy to conduct an unlicensed money transmitting business.
Edeh managed used car dealerships and currency transfer services in Texas, Florida, and Nigeria. This included a currency exchange company as well as a cryptocurrency firm, both of which were based in Nigeria, through which Edeh exchanged Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for profit.
In or around 2015, Edeh conspired with others to launder and transmit proceeds of Ponzi-style investment fraud schemes based in Nigeria. Specifically, the schemes purported to offer trading and Bitcoin investing services when, in fact, investor funds were stolen and later victims’ investments were used to pay purported returns to earlier investors. Edeh laundered the fraud proceeds using a network of co-conspirators in the United States and using his personal and business accounts in the United States and Nigeria. Edeh, along with his co-conspirators, did not hold money transmitting licenses in their respective states of residence, nor were they registered as money transmitters as required by federal law.
Edeh is the fifth person to be sentenced in relation to this money laundering scheme. In June 2023, Charles Ochi was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to orchestrating the money laundering scheme with Edeh. Three other co-conspirators have been convicted of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and were sentenced to probation. One alleged co-conspirator, Vanessa Okocha, remains at large.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Harry Chavis Jr., Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigations in Boston; and Michael McCarthy, Acting Director of Field Operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Boston Field Office made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was provided by the Division of Enforcement at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kriss Basil of the Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.