Former Canadian Moneygram And Western Union Agent Pleads Guilty To Fraud And Money Laundering Conspiracy Charges
HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a former Western Union and MoneyGram agent pleaded guilty yesterday to charges he participated in an international mass marketing consumer fraud scheme.
According to United States Attorney Peter Smith, Alex Mgbolu, age 45 of Toronto, Canada, pleaded guilty today before Chief U.S. District Court Judge Christopher C. Conner in Harrisburg to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.
According to the Indictment by a Middle District of Pennsylvania grand jury in September 2012, Mgbolu conspired with Chima Nneji, William Nneji, and other unnamed individuals between July 2002 and May 2010 to commit the crimes. Mgbolu was extradited to the United States from Canada.
Mgbolui was the owner/operator of a Western Union agency called FA CAM Associates (FA CAM) and a MoneyGram agency also known as FA CAM. Both agencies were located in Toronto, Canada. Between July 2002 and May 2010 international mass marketing fraudsters allegedly instructed hundreds of consumer fraud victims across the United States to send Western Union and MoneyGram money transfers to Canada where the transfers were paid out by Mgbolu at FA CAM. Mgbolu concealed the fraudsters’ identity by entering false names and identification data into the Western Union and MoneyGram computer data bases. Analysts from the Toronto Police and U.S. Postal Inspection Service have determined that over 90% of the payee addresses and identification numbers entered at FA CAM were invalid. For his role in the scheme Mgbolu retained a portion of the money transfers before sending the balance of the proceeds on to the fraudsters.
After Western Union terminated FA CAM and MoneyGram restricted FA CAM’s ability to pay out money transfers, money transfer checks from other fraud-complicit MoneyGram Western Union agents in the greater Toronto area were deposited into FA CAM’s bank account. The deposit of fraudulently induced funds into what appears to be a legitimate business bank account and the subsequent reissuance of the proceeds via checks and wire transfers helps to launder the proceeds and conceal the identity of the fraudsters is known as “check pooling.”
Overall, between July 2002 and May 2010, FA CAM and the 13 complicit Western Union and MoneyGram agents paid out 907 money transfers totaling $2,127,410 that were reported by the Senders as being fraud induced.
Codefendant Chima Nneji pleaded guilty to the same conspiracy charge before Judge Conner on July 21, 2016. No date has been scheduled as yet for Mgbolu’s or Nneji’s sentencing.
Codefendant William Nneji remains a fugitive from justice.
The case is part of a long term continuing investigation by the Harrisburg Office of the United States Postal Inspection Service, assisted by the Toronto Police and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kim Douglas Daniel.
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