Okechukwu Iwuji, a Nigerian, was sentenced to prison alongside two other individuals after being found guilty of taking part in a $2 million advance fee and money laundering operation.
Iwuji, 38, and the other defendants allegedly gained around $2,600,000 through fraud by persuading investors on Guam to pay fake fees for a multimillion-dollar bequest, according to Shawn Anderson, an attorney with the US Attorney’s Office in Guam.
The other detainees are Sally Roberto, 56, from Santa Rita, and Monique Jones, 49, from Dallas, Texas.
They were sentenced for their offenses on Tuesday and Thursday.
Iwuji, a Nigerian national who formerly resided in Orlando, Florida, was sentenced after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud to 45 months in prison, three years of supervised release, $475,710 in restitution, a $100 mandatory assessment fee, and a forfeiture money judgment.
Anderson asserted in a statement issued by the US Attorney Office that “this extensive conspiracy preyed on 60 victims, nearly all of whom live in Guam.”
“These scams are difficult to investigate and prosecute due to the interstate and transnational nature of the criminal activity. Our success in this matter is the result of a team effort across multiple jurisdictions, with outstanding leadership by prosecutor David. We will continue to pursue the collection of restitution for those harmed by the defendant’s conduct. The public must remain vigilant against this type of fraud,” Anderson added.
Iwuji obtained at least $475,710 in victim monies from Roberto and other conspirators as part of the scam, and she moved some of the money to accounts controlled by third parties in Nigeria.
33 months in prison, three years of probation, $1,030,990 in restitution, a $3,900 assessment charge, and a $1,030,990 forfeiture money judgment were the terms of Sally’s sentencing.
Mekayda was sentenced to a 36-month jail term, three years of post-release supervision, $387,160 in restitution, a $1,600 point zero obligatory assessment charge, and a $801,210 forfeiture money judgment.
In addition to having to pay $578,130 in restitution, Monique received a 48-month jail sentence, three years of post-release supervision, a $2,700 obligatory assessment charge, and a $1,111,280 forfeiture money judgment.
According to Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Steven Merrill, the FBI would closely monitor such situations and ensure that the culprits were brought to justice.
“This sentence should make the public aware that these types of advance fees, associated with inheritance scams, will be investigated by the FBI and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“If it is too good to be true, it probably is,” Merrill said.