Local businesses owner and employee each plead guilty to filing false tax returns after failing to report nearly $4 million in income
ATLANTA - Onosemeraja Idodo-Umeh, a native of Nigeria who was residing in Atlanta, was arraigned on federal charges in an 18-count indictment that was unsealed yesterday. Idodo-Umhel is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, 10 counts of wire fraud, five counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and one count of unlawful procurement of naturalization. Idodo-Umeh was indicted by a federal grand jury on August 7, 2018.
“Idodo-Umeh allegedly moved a substantial amount of stolen money out of the United States to Nigeria, doing so with the help of gang members already indicted by this office,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “By prosecuting not only the gang members, but also those who allegedly reaped the financial benefit of their crimes, we will work to dismantle the entire criminal network.”
“Onosemeraja Idodo-Umeh allegedly perpetrated multiple fraudulent schemes over many years, including by conspiring with violent gang members, and then laundered the illicit proceeds,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski. “He also allegedly obtained U.S. citizenship only after lying to immigration authorities. These extremely troubling charges once again demonstrate the Department of Justice’s resolve to protect the American people and our financial system from transnational fraud.”
“This arrest was the result of an investigation led by the FBI’s Safe Streets Gang Task Force,” said J. C. “Chris” Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “It is another example of the expanding criminal enterprises conducted by gangs, and why we continue to dedicate significant resources to dismantling them.”
“This case illustrates the complexity of investigating financial crimes being exploited by transnational criminal networks,” said Special Agent in Charge Nick Annan of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) – Atlanta Division. “With this indictment, HSI special agents and our law enforcement partners, have increased the security of our nation, while also making our own communities safer.”
According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the charges, and other information presented in court: The indictment alleges a conspiracy spanning approximately seven years, in which Idodo-Umeh and his co-conspirators perpetrated fraud schemes using stolen identities, compromised credit card numbers, and stolen and counterfeit checks. The alleged conspiracy involved, among other tactics, the creation of fake businesses to which Idodo-Umeh and his co-conspirators, including members of the Gangster Disciples gang, would make credit card payments using stolen credit card numbers.
The indictment also alleges the use of forged checks written for tens of thousands of dollars each. Idodo-Umeh would allegedly funnel the fraud proceeds through bank accounts belonging to a network of subordinates who he recruited and paid on commission, to transfer dirty money back and forth between the United States and Nigeria.
The indictment also alleges that Idodo-Umeh unlawfully obtained his naturalized U.S. citizenship by falsely telling immigration authorities he had not committed any crimes when in fact he was engaged in the charged fraud.
Onosemeraja Idodo-Umeh, 41, of Atlanta, Georgia was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge King on federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Division, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Cobb County Police Department.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Kim S. Dammers, Chief of the Organized Crime and Gang Section, and Conor Mulroe, Trial Attorney for the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, are prosecuting the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.