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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Florida Man Convicted In Business Email Compromise And Money Laundering Scheme Targeting Hedge Fund

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that a jury returned a guilty verdict against MUSTAPHA RAJI for his participation in a $1.7 million business email compromise and money-laundering scheme that targeted a Manhattan hedge fund.  RAJI was convicted on four counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, receipt of stolen property, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  RAJI was convicted after a jury trial before U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman which lasted approximately one week.  RAJI was previously arrested on December 20, 2019.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “Email scams that target businesses in this District will not be tolerated.  Together with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to zealously prosecute online scammers abroad, and the U.S.-based money launderers they work with, to protect American businesses.”

As reflected in the Indictment, public filings, and the evidence presented at trial:

RAJI participated in an international fraud ring that conducted phishing and other email fraud campaigns.  One of those campaigns involved the July 2018 compromise of the business email account of a hedge fund founder in New York.  That compromise resulted in the fraudulent diversion of a $1.7 million wire transfer from the hedge fund to a corporate bank account used to facilitate the scheme.  RAJI was a registered officer of the company that received the stolen funds, he fabricated documents to cover up the fraudulent transfer of funds from the hedge fund, and he directed a co-conspirator to launder the stolen funds to other co-conspirators domestically and overseas.  RAJI took a $50,000 cut for his participation in the scheme.

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RAJI, 52, of Hollywood, Florida, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of receipt of stolen money, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison; and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

RAJI is scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Furman on January 11, 2023, at 3:15 p.m.

The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

This case is being handled by the Office’s Complex Frauds and Cybercrime Unit.  Assistant United States Attorneys Catherine Ghosh, Jilan Kamal, Dina McLeod, and Robert B. Sobelman are in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Contact: 
Nicholas Biase (212) 637-2600
Press Release Number: 
22-296
Updated September 21, 2022