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Press Release

Monmouth County Man Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Laundering Money for Black Axe in South Africa

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

TRENTON, N.J. – A Monmouth County, New Jersey, man was sentenced to 60 months in prison for laundering money on behalf of the Cape Town Zone of Black Axe, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.

Andrew Suarez, 30, of Middletown, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp to an indictment charging him with money laundering conspiracy. Judge Shipp imposed the sentence today in Trenton 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. The total loss amount attributed to Suarez’s conduct is approximately $525,000.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Shipp sentenced Suarez to three years of supervised release.

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 Aaron Hatley. He also thanked the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago, for its assistance in the case. 

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard G. Shephard of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton.

Updated December 14, 2023

Topic
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 23-369