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Press Release

Queens Man Sentenced To Five Years In Prison For Multimillion-Dollar Bank Fraud And Money Laundering Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York
Chinwendu Alisigwe Used Fake IDs to Open Dozens of Bank Accounts, Which He Then Used to Launder Millions in Ill-Gotten Fraud Proceeds

Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that CHINWENDU ALISIGWE was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a wide-ranging bank fraud and money laundering conspiracy, which resulted in the misappropriation of approximately $4.5 million in victim funds.  ALISIGWE was previously convicted by a jury following a trial before U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni, who imposed today’s sentence.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said:  “Over the course of years, Chinwendu Alisigwe used fake IDs to open dozens of bank accounts, which he then used to launder proceeds obtained from victims of business email compromise and other fraud schemes.  Alisigwe’s co-conspirators scammed dozens of victims — including individuals, businesses, a county government, and a charity that provides wheelchairs for children — into sending money to Alisigwe’s network of bank accounts.  Alisigwe then laundered the money, spending his cut on shopping sprees and sending the rest to his co-conspirators overseas.  As today’s sentence demonstrates, money launderers who assist scammers abroad, like Alisigwe, will be held accountable by this Office.”

According to the allegations contained in the Superseding Indictment, the evidence offered at trial, and statements made in public filings:

From approximately 2017 to 2020, ALISIGWE used fake identifications to open 36 separate bank accounts at six different financial institutions.  He opened those accounts with over a dozen fraudulent passports and other fraudulent identity documents bearing his photograph but the names of other individuals.  In the course of this criminal conduct, ALISIGWE used the names and social security numbers of real people who were completely unaware that ALISIGWE was using them in his fraud. 

After ALISIGWE opened the fraudulent bank accounts, the accounts received millions of dollars from a variety of fraud schemes, including business email compromise schemes.  The funds came from numerous victims, including a children’s charity, individual bank accounts, a public company, a life insurance company, and a county government.  In total, ALISIGWE received approximately $4.5 million of fraud proceeds into his network of bank accounts. 

After the fraud proceeds were deposited into the accounts opened by ALISIGWE, he laundered the proceeds through a series of transactions designed to disguise their nature and source.  For example, ALISIGWE consistently transferred large sums of the victims’ money from account to account that he had opened in other people’s names.  After disguising the nature and source of the fraud proceeds through these transactions, ALISIGWE wired these funds to bank accounts in foreign countries, including China and the United Kingdom.  ALISIGWE also spent large portions of the stolen money on clothing and other personal items.  For example, ALISIGWE used fraud proceeds to make approximately $100,000 in purchases from retail stores like Zara, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Rockaway Liquor.  He also withdrew approximately $650,000 of the fraud proceeds in cash.  Ultimately, the transactions into and out of the 36 accounts opened by ALISIGWE amounted to nearly $6 million. 

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In addition to his prison term, ALISIGWE, 38, of Jamaica, New York, was sentenced to five years of supervised release and ordered to pay $499,949.88 in restitution and $4,463,475.80 in forfeiture.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the course of this investigation.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys William C. Kinder, Meredith Foster, and Adam Hobson are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Paralegal Specialists Phineas Santello and Olivia Sebade.


Nicholas Biase, Lauren Scarff, Shelby Wratchford
(212) 637-2600

Updated April 9, 2024

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 24-119