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Press Release

Three Ghanian Defendants Convicted Of A $1.4 Million Conspiracy To Commit Bank And Wire Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Contact ELIZABETH MORSE                                                     at (410) 209-4885



Baltimore, Maryland – A federal jury has convicted Mohammed “Kofi” Kwaning, age 36, of Laurel, Mark Dennis, age 30, of Laurel, and Charles Mensah, age 30, of the Bronx, New York, of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, as well as bank and wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft for a scheme to defraud in 2014 which attempted to steal nearly $1.4 million in funds from the personal, retirement, and business accounts of various victims. All three are lawful permanent residents of the United States and citizens of Ghana.


The verdict was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Stephen M. Schenning; Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement - Homeland Security Investigations, Baltimore Office; and Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan of the Baltimore County Police.


According to evidence at presented at the 10 day trial, in 2014, Mohammed Kwaning acquired account information from the individual victims, to include the investment account management firms listed in the Superseding Indictment, as well as forged checks containing bank account information of both individual and corporate victims from across the United States.


Issah Mohammed then recruited individuals, to include Mark Dennis, Charles Mensah, Sandra Badu, Abayomi Davies, and Francis “Pino” Fosu, who registered corporate shell entities with the state of Maryland. The individuals Issah Mohammed recruited then set up bank accounts at multiple banking institutions in the names of these shell entities. Mohammed Kwaning then either directed that the funds from the compromised accounts be wired into those bank accounts or provided altered or fabricated checks from compromised accounts to Issah Mohammed, who then provided the checks to Mark Dennis, Charles Mensah, Sandra Badu, Abayomi Davies, and Francis “Pino” Fosu, to be deposited into those bank accounts. After doing so, those same individuals would attempt to withdraw as much of the stolen funds before the banks discovered that the source of the funds were compromised accounts.


Some of the accounts were compromised by individuals who called into investment firms pretending to be the actual account holders, and then eventually providing enough correct answers in order to reset the password for the account. Individuals also hacked the emails of victims and, posing as the account holders, requested funds be wired from their retirement accounts to the bank accounts of the shell corporations controlled by the conspirators. The loss attempted over the course of nine months was over $1.3 million; the conspirators were able to withdraw over $229,000 of stolen funds, which they then split amongst themselves.


Sentencing for Kwaning is set for February 16, 2018. Sentencing for Mensah and Dennis is set for January 19, 2018. All three defendants are detained pending sentencing. Issah Mohammed, Sandra Badu, Abayomi Davies, and Francis “Pino” Fosu had all previously pled guilty. Their sentencing hearings are to be scheduled.


Acting United States Attorney Stephen M. Schenning commended HSI Baltimore and the Baltimore County Police Department for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Schenning thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul E. Budlow and Judson T. Mihok, who prosecuted this case.

Updated November 2, 2017