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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Jury Finds Texas Man Guilty For Role In Complex Nigerian Money Laundering Ring

Tampa, Florida – A federal jury has found Okechuwku Desmond Amadi (39, Garland, TX) guilty of conspiracy to commit money laundering and individual counts of money laundering. Amadi faces a maximum penalty of 60 years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing has not yet been set.

Amadi was indicted on September 19, 2017. He was arrested on September 28, 2017, at John F. Kennedy International Airport, in New York City, after returning from a trip to Nigeria.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Amadi worked with an international criminal organization based in Nigeria that defrauded dozens of victims across the United States and then laundered proceeds of the fraud through a complex network of bank accounts. The criminal organization, known as the Neo Black Movement of Africa, or the Black Axe Group, coordinated fraud and money laundering activity throughout the globe via cells or “zones” in Nigeria, Canada, the United States, and elsewhere. 

Black Axe fraud schemes took various forms. Many of the fraud victims were elderly, widowed or divorced women who had developed relationships with fake suitors on dating websites. These victims were convinced to wire money, which often consisted of their retirement savings and cash taken out from their home equity, to bank accounts in the United States as part of a supposed investment opportunity. Other victims included title companies that were defrauded with fake cashier’s checks during phony real estate transactions.

Victims were instructed to wire their money into accounts held by U.S.-based conspirators, known as “money mules,” and the funds were then quickly moved to other accounts in the United States and around the world before the victims could discover the fraud. Bank records presented at trial indicated that, from 2012 to 2015, several million dollars in wire transfers were laundered. Amadi, a real estate investor and insurance broker in Texas, used his bank accounts to launder more than $833,000 in fraud proceeds that victims had sent to accounts controlled by an associate of his in the Dallas area. Amadi wired much of that money overseas, including to Canada and Nigeria, to promote the conspiracy and conceal the source of the funds.

This case was investigated by the FBI, with assistance from various federal and local law enforcement partners throughout the country, including the Toronto Police Service and the Toronto Strategic Partnership in Ontario, Canada. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Patrick Scruggs and Diego Novaes.

Elder Justice
Financial Fraud
Updated November 9, 2018