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Press Release

Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty To Structuring Currency Transactions

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

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney Trini E. Ross announced today that Eric Iwu aka James, 32, a Nigerian citizen currently residing in Buffalo, NY, pleaded guilty to structuring transactions to evade reporting requirements before U.S. District Judge Lawrence J. Vilardo. The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles M. Kruly, who is handling the case, stated that in June 2019, a company called Reliancee Industry LLC was registered with the New York State Division of Corporations. One day later, with Iwu’s assistance, a KeyBank account was opened in the name of Reliancee Industry LLC. In August 2019, three separate deposits of $58,019.76, $54,522.28, and $51,989.54 were made into the account. After each deposit was made, multiple cash withdrawals were then made on different dates, all under $10,000, by an individual being directed by Iwu. Iwu directed the individual to withdraw the sums of cash on different dates knowing that KeyBank was legally obligated to report currency transactions in excess of $10,000. Iwu did so with the intent to evade that reporting requirement.

Iwu also admitted his role in opening bank accounts that received fraud proceeds from four victim companies located in the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Singapore, and California, totaling approximately $760,000.

The plea is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Matthew Scarpino.

Sentencing is scheduled for October 19, 2022, before Judge Vilardo.  

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Updated July 8, 2022