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Press Release

Monmouth County Man Indicted for Laundering Money for Black Axe in South Africa

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

NEWARK, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man has been indicted for laundering money on behalf of the Cape Town Zone of Black Axe, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Andrew Suarez, 29, of Middletown, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with money laundering conspiracy, substantive money laundering counts, and aggravated identity theft. He is scheduled to appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward S. Kiel in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From August 2017 through December 2017, Suarez worked with conspirators to launder money to entities in the Cape Town, South Africa, area, including to an account in the name of Abravoo Trading Company, an entity controlled by a founding member of the Cape Town Zone of Black Axe. Black Axe members were responsible for widespread internet-based fraud schemes.

Suarez opened up bank accounts in the United States, which were then used to conceal money obtained through business email compromises and other fraud schemes. Suarez transferred the proceeds of the fraud schemes to other U.S. bank accounts and wired proceeds to bank accounts in Cape Town, South Africa.  To avoid detection, Suarez changed the information on some of his bank accounts, so the accounts listed the name and address of a victim.

Each of the money laundering charges carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the funds involved in the transfer, whichever is greater. The aggravated identity theft count carries a mandatory two-year prison term, which must run consecutively to any other term of imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $250,000.  

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Red Bank Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, and the U.S. Secret Service’s Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jose Riera, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. He also thanked the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond Santiago, for its assistance in the case. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie H. Solano of the Cybercrime Unit in Newark.

Updated October 7, 2022

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 22-373