Watertown Man Pleads Guilty to African Sports Ponzi Scheme
BOSTON – A Watertown man pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Boston to defrauding investors who believed they were financing lucrative short-term sports ventures in Africa.
Adrian Kawuba, 33, pleaded guilty to four counts of wire fraud. United States District Court Judge William G. Young scheduled sentencing for March 14, 2024. Kawuba was arrested and charged in November 2022.
Kawuba told his victims that he would invest their money in short-term financing of sports ventures in Africa and elsewhere overseas and that he would personally guarantee their investments. Kawuba did not invest any of the victims’ funds. Instead, Kawuba used the money to pay for luxury goods and to pay purported returns to his investors – in some instances paying back a victim’s earlier investment with money that victims had just sent Kawuba for a new investment. The scheme involved at least 26 fraudulent deals, involving more than $2.3 million in victim funds.
The charges of wire fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, a fine of $250,000 or twice the monetary loss or gain, whichever is greater, restitution and forfeiture. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy and Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. The Watertown Police Department provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kriss Basil of Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.