GREENSBORO, N.C. - A resident of New York was sentenced to 33 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release after a federal jury convicted him of conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced United States Attorney Sandra J. Hairston of the Middle District of North Carolina.
KAODICHIMMA OKECHUKWU ANYANWU of Valley Stream, New York, was sentenced to a 33-month term of imprisonment by the Honorable William L. Osteen, Jr., United States District Judge in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. In addition to prison time, ANYANWU was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay a special assessment of $100.00.
According to court filings and evidence at trial, the case involved a business email compromise, which was an act of wire fraud, and a group of individuals who subsequently laundered the proceeds of that crime. A business email compromise or “BEC” is a cyber fraud scheme through which criminals target companies, large and small, that frequently transfer money by wires. In the typical BEC scheme, criminals use information obtained through a computer intrusion or social engineering to send spoofed emails or other phishing emails in an effort to trick the company’s employees into conducting unauthorized and unintended transfers of funds. Once the victim of the BEC transfers money to the criminal network, individuals who receive ill-gotten gains from these types of crimes frequently open bank accounts in the names of shell companies, fictitious identities, or stolen identities in an attempt to distance their true selves from being associated with the crime.
In this case, according to court filings and evidence at trial, ANYANWU’s co-conspirators obtained approximately $660,766 through a BEC that victimized a public university located within the Middle District of North Carolina. ANYANWU, who was born in Nigeria, laundered approximately $67,921 of that money through a bank account ANYANWU held in the name of an alias.
A federal jury convicted ANYANWU after a week-long trial.
“Business email compromises like the one in this case continue to threaten organizations and institutions across the United States,” said United States Attorney Hairston. “Alongside our law enforcement partners, we will continue to pursue the criminals who, here or abroad, participate in any way to further these conspiracies.”
The investigation was undertaken by Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tanner Kroeger and Nicole DuPré.