CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A federal jury convicted Chukwudi Michael Okwara, 40, of Charlotte, for his involvement in a Enterprise E mail Compromise (BEC) scheme that defrauded not less than six corporations of roughly $2 million. William T. Stetzer, Appearing U.S. Lawyer for the Western District of North Carolina, introduced immediately that Okwara had been convicted at trial of 27 counts of cash laundering, false statements to banks, and aggravated identification theft.
A enterprise e-mail compromise scheme, or BEC, is a complicated rip-off, usually focusing on companies concerned in wire switch funds. The fraud is carried out by compromising and/or “spoofing” reliable enterprise e-mail accounts by way of social engineering or pc intrusion methods, to trigger workers of the sufferer firm (or different people concerned in reliable enterprise transactions) to switch funds to accounts managed by scammers.
Based on trial proof, witness testimony and paperwork filed with the courtroom, starting in November 2018, Okwara, who additionally goes by “Collins Hen” and “Larry Eugene Coleman,” used faux paperwork to open a number of cash mule financial institution accounts. Cash mule financial institution accounts are accounts utilized by fraudsters as a pass-through technique of transferring fraudulently obtained funds. As trial proof established, Okwara used the cash mule accounts to obtain and launder the proceeds of BEC scams perpetrated on not less than six sufferer corporations totaling $2 million. Based on proof introduced at trial, the cash mule accounts opened by Okwara have been initially funded with comparatively small deposits. Victims of the BEC schemes situated all through america have been then tricked by scammers to wire giant quantities of funds into these accounts. Inside days of receipt of the fraudulent wires, Okwara used false and stolen identities and carried out monetary transactions with the fraudulently obtained proceeds in an effort to conceal their origins, together with to make giant money withdrawals, buy official checks, and ship wires to different financial institution accounts underneath his management.
Okwara’s cash laundering convictions carry a most sentence of 20 years and a $500,000 superb per rely; the 5 counts of conducting monetary transactions with unlawful proceeds carry a most jail sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 superb per rely; the 2 counts of submitting false paperwork to banks carry a most jail time period of 30 years and a $1,000,000 superb per rely; and the 2 counts of aggravated identification theft carry a compulsory minimal sentence of two years in jail, per rely, to be served consecutively to every other sentence imposed.
Okwara is at present in federal custody. A sentencing date has not been set.
In making immediately’s announcement, Appearing U.S. Lawyer Stetzer counseled the investigating efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Division.
Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Warren and Mark T. Odulio, of the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace in Charlotte, are prosecuting the case.