New Hampshire Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Laundering Money Stolen from Texas Retirees
In Austin today, a federal judge sentenced 35-year-old Lukman Shina Aminu of Manchester, NH, to 51 months in federal prison today for his alleged scheme to launder over a million dollars from multiple fraudulent schemes, including thousands stolen from former Texas state employees retirement plans, announced U.S. Attorney John F. Bash, FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs, San Antonio Division, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Richard D. Goss, Houston Field Office, and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman ordered that Aminu pay $1,158,285.14 in restitution and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.
On January 2, 2019, Aminu pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. By pleading guilty, Aminu admitted that beginning in June 2017, he used personally identifiable information (PII) from state employees to make changes to their accounts in the Employees Retirement System of Texas internet portal. Bank deposit information on file in the system was changed which re-routed retirement payments to debit cards Aminu controlled. Aminu then used the debit cards for cash withdrawals and to purchase money orders which were used for personal expenses and to purchase used vehicles to be shipped overseas to Nigeria and Benin for resale. Aminu also admitted to receiving multiple transfers from victims of other schemes on other debit cards that had been opened using their PII. This scheme also involved using car purchases and shipments to send money back to Nigeria (in the value of the shipped car), while simultaneously laundering the funds or “cleaning the money” to make the money appear as legitimate income.
“Today’s sentencing is a message to all who seek to deceitfully defraud others for personal gain,” said FBI San Antonio Division Special Agent in Charge Christopher Combs. “In this case, the defendant’s actions robbed former Texas public servants of their retirement payments. These selfish actions harmed countless families as the defendant then used the money to purchase used vehicles and ship them to be sold overseas. The FBI will not rest until those who perpetrate these crimes are brought to justice.”
The FBI, IRS-Criminal Investigation and the Texas Department of Public Safety – Public Integrity Unit investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Galdo prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.