Nigerian National Sentenced for Wire Fraud & Money Laundering
MADISON, WIS. – Scott C. Blader, United States Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin, announced that Clement Onuama, 53, Arlington, Texas (formerly of Lagos, Nigeria), was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge William B. Conley to 40 months in federal prison, and ordered to pay $409,639 in restitution. In addition, the court ordered Onuama to forfeit as a personal money judgment, $409,639 in ill-gotten gains. Onuama’s co-conspirator, Orefo Okeke, was sentenced by Judge Conley on October 18, 2018, to 45 months imprisonment, and ordered to pay $582,955.90 in restitution to the victims.
On July 17, 2018, Onuama pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering. Okeke and Onuama participated in multiple frauds by means of wires, including: romance frauds, business email compromises, identity theft, bank account takeovers, and credit card fraud. Onuama was found responsible for causing a fraud loss of $1,076,602. Onuama and Okeke acted as money launderers and funneled the fraud proceeds through multiple bank accounts before withdrawing it in the form of cash and cashier’s checks, all in increments of $10,000 or less.
At today’s sentencing, Judge Conley told Onuama that as a money launderer in this case, he provided the foundation for a sweeping fraud, and that his conduct, “caused untold damage to others. There has to be a consequence for that.”
In response to Onuama’s plea for mercy because his mistakes were causing harm to his children, Judge Conley told Onuama, “You are not here because of a mistake. You are here because of intentional decisions to lie to bankers, and law enforcement about the sources of the money taken by fraud from the victims. These were not mistakes.”
The charges against Onuama and Okeke were the result of an investigation conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation. The prosecution of the case has been handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel J. Graber.