You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 21, 2019

Bank Insider And Two Others Arrested In Bank Bribery And Money Laundering Conspiracy

Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and William F. Sweeney Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), announced the arrest of VICTOR PHILLIPS, STEPHEN ODIBOH, and ANTHONY COLLIER for money laundering, money laundering conspiracy, and conspiracy to commit bank bribery.  PHILLIPS, ODIBOH, and COLLIER were arrested in and around Atlanta, Georgia, and are expected to be presented this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Janet F. King in the Northern District of Georgia.  Their case is assigned to U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken of the Southern District of New York.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said:  “As alleged, banker Victor Phillips conspired with two money launderers, Stephen Odiboh and Anthony Collier, to facilitate the laundering of what they all thought were the proceeds of criminal activity.  Thanks to the FBI, all three are now in custody and facing serious criminal charges.”

FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. said:  “It’s not bad enough that there are those who wish to launder money at the expense of other people and institutions, but when bank insiders join in to facilitate these transactions, it’s particularly troubling.  This behavior won’t be tolerated, and the FBI will continue to investigate these illegal acts so long as criminals continue to conduct themselves in this way.”

According to the allegations in the Indictment unsealed today[1]:

Between at least June 2019 and September 2019, PHILLIPS, who is employed at an Atlanta-area branch of a national bank (“Bank-1”), opened bank accounts in the names of shell companies and fictitious persons in exchange for a percentage of the fraud proceeds laundered through the accounts.  ODIBOH controlled one PHILLIPS-created account, and he and COLLIER agreed to launder $15,500 through it, hoping that this transaction that would be the first in a series laundering up to $2 million that they believed was stolen from a company by its employees.  When the first payment arrived, they paid their bribe to PHILLIPS, divided a share for themselves, and returned half to the senders.  In fact, the FBI sent the payment as part of a sting operation. 

ODIBOH, 47, and COLLIER, 57, are each charged with one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of money laundering, each of which carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.  ODIBOH, COLLIER, and PHILLIPS, 39, are each charged with one count of conspiracy against the United States, which carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison.  The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

The charges in the Indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the FBI’s New York Money Laundering Investigation Squad.  

This case is being handled by the Office’s Money Laundering and Transnational Criminal Enterprises Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Kiersten A. Fletcher, Jonathan E. Rebold, and Andrew A. Rohrbach are in charge of the prosecution.

 

[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Indictment and the description of the Indictment set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

 

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Jim Margolin, Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
19-392
Updated November 21, 2019