A massive fraud and money laundering scheme that victimized people and businesses across the US has resulted in prison sentences for 36 individuals. The perpetrators used various methods, such as fake emails, online romance, and retirement account fraud, to steal over $30 million.
The US Department of Justice announced the sentences after working for more than four years to bring the criminals to justice. The defendants were involved in multiple conspiracies that laundered money through bank accounts created for that purpose.
Some of the defendants also stole money from employee benefit plans, causing workers and retirees to lose their savings. The Justice Department collaborated with several federal, state, and local agencies to investigate and prosecute the case.
The defendants came from different states, including Georgia, Texas, Missouri, Colorado, Ghana and Nigeria. Most of them pleaded guilty to various charges, such as conspiracy to commit money laundering, bank fraud, and identity theft. Their sentences ranged from three months to eight years in prison, and they were ordered to pay restitution to the victims.
Two defendants were convicted by a jury and are awaiting sentencing. One defendant died before charges were filed.