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Press Release

Nigerian National Residing in Cleveland Sentenced to Prison for Serving as “Money Mule” in Financial Fraud Schemes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

CLEVELAND – A Nigerian national residing in Cleveland was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent to two and a half years in prison and ordered to pay $438,604.89 in restitution after she pleaded guilty to her role as a “money mule” for various financial fraud schemes that targeted individuals in the United States and elsewhere.

According to court documents, from June 2018 to August 2020, Deborah Anderson, 30, of Nigeria, was part of a financial fraud conspiracy that obtained money from victims through fraudulent investment opportunities, romance scams, fraudulent sales or rentals and other types of schemes.

Court documents show that Anderson served as a “money mule” or someone who transfers or moves illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else.  As part of the conspiracy, victims transferred money to accounts controlled by Anderson, who, in turn, transferred the funds to various unknown individuals in Nigeria.

Additionally, court documents state that Anderson used victim funds to purchase personal items and later exported those items to Nigeria.

In total, victims suffered a combined loss of $438,604.89 as a result of the various scams.

Anderson pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in June 2022.  As part of the sentencing, Anderson was ordered to surrender to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, at the conclusion of her sentence.

The investigation preceding the indictment was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).  This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian M. McDonough and Kathryn Gaughan Andrachik.


Daniel Ball

Updated February 27, 2024

Financial Fraud