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Press Release

Maryland Woman Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Obstruction of Justice in Cyber Fraud Investigation

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

United States Attorney Brandon J. Fremin announced today that Fatima Sesay, age 28, of Laurel, Maryland, pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson to obstruction of justice.  As a result of her guilty plea, Sesay faces a significant term of imprisonment, fines, and a period of supervised release.

Beginning in 2017, the Export-Import Bank of the United States, Office of Inspector General (EXIM Bank), and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, working with a federal grand jury sitting in Baton Rouge, were conducting an investigation into a cyberfraud that affected a business in Greenwell Springs, Louisiana.  After the victim company shipped approximately $67,000 of its products to a customer in Amman, Jordan, the customer received a series of fraudulent e-mails directing it to send payment to an account at Wells Fargo Bank.  Relying on the messages and wiring instructions, the customer wired the requested funds to the account.  The Louisiana-based victim had not sent the e-mails, however, and unbeknownst to the customer, the wiring instructions were fraudulent.

Several weeks later, Wells Fargo closed the account, and issued a check for the closing balance, approximately $106,000, which included the fraudulent proceeds of the scheme described above, to the individual whose name appeared on the account, Individual A.  On July 20, 2016, the check was deposited into an account at Bank of America, which had been opened in Maryland earlier that year by Sesay in the name “Pearl Global, Inc.,” a limited liability company that Sesay had formed.  EXIM Bank, the official export credit agency of the United States, had insured the underlying transactions between the Louisiana business and its customer.  Upon realizing that the businesses had been defrauded, EXIM Bank’s Office of Inspector General began investigating possible violations of criminal laws arising out of these events.

Federal authorities contacted Sesay and made several attempts to secure truthful information from her about her knowledge of the scheme.  Instead, as Sesay has admitted, she made numerous statements intended to mislead and deceive the federal grand jury investigation.  First, in January of 2019, she participated in an interview with federal agents and made a number of evasive or misleading statements.  For example, when Sesay was asked about the check that was deposited into her bank account, she said that she had attempted to deposit the check, but claimed that she did not know how she received the check and did not recall how she may have deposited it.  Second, in April of 2019, she testified before the grand jury in Baton Rouge and repeatedly provided inaccurate, misleading, and false answers.  Sesay gave false answers intended to minimize the extent of her relationship with one of the subjects of the investigation, for instance, and falsely claimed that she did not have any information about a particular phone number relevant to the investigation, despite the fact that she had purchased the phone and was its registered subscriber.

U.S. Attorney Fremin stated, “Obstructing the federal grand jury from fulfilling its lawful duties will not be tolerated in this district.  We will continue to use federal resources, which are uniquely qualified to combat cyber fraud, to protect our businesses and bring these criminals to justice.  I want to thank our prosecutor and the Export-Import Bank, Office of Inspector General, for its work on this conviction.”

EXIM Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States, and assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to international markets. Complaints and reports of waste, fraud, and abuse related to EXIM Bank programs and operations can be reported to the OIG hotline at 888-OIG-EXIM (888-644-3946) or via email at

This matter is being investigated by the Export-Import Bank of the United States – Office of Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Alan A. Stevens, who serves as Senior Litigation Counsel of the Criminal Division.

Updated January 22, 2020