A Nigerian citizen, Okechukwu Iwuji, along with two other individuals, has been found guilty and incarcerated for their involvement in an advance fee and money laundering operation worth over $2 million.
Announced by Shawn Anderson, an attorney from the US Attorney’s Office in Guam, the 38-year-old Iwuji and his partners fraudulently secured around $2,600,000 by convincing investors based in Guam to make fictitious payments for a multimillion-dollar inheritance.
The other culprits are Sally Roberto, aged 56, from Santa Rita, and Monique Jones, aged 49, from Dallas, Texas. They received their sentences on Tuesday and Thursday for the crimes committed.
Iwuji, originally from Nigeria, who formerly lived in Orlando, Florida, has been handed a prison term of 45 months. In addition, he will be under three years of supervised release, required to pay $475,710 in restitution, a mandatory assessment fee of $100, and a forfeiture money judgment of $475,710. This follows his earlier guilty plea to participating in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Shawn Anderson stated in a statement issued by the US Attorney’s Office, “This extensive conspiracy targeted 60 victims, the majority of whom reside in Guam. These types of scams pose challenges for investigation and prosecution due to their cross-state and international nature. Our success in this case stems from collaborative efforts spanning various jurisdictions, with commendable leadership by prosecutor David. We are committed to pursuing restitution for those affected by the defendant’s actions. The public needs to remain vigilant against such fraudulent activities.”
As part of the scheme, Iwuji acquired at least $475,710 from victim funds, which he then transferred to Nigerian bank accounts held by third parties.
Sally Roberto has been sentenced to 33 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and is obligated to pay $1,030,990 in restitution, along with a mandatory assessment fee of $3,900 and a forfeiture money judgment of $1,030,990.
Mekayda, facing a 36-month prison term, three years of supervised release, is ordered to pay $387,160 in restitution. Additionally, she has to cover a mandatory assessment fee of $1,600.00 and a forfeiture money judgment of $801,210.
Monique Jones has been sentenced to 48 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. She is required to pay $578,130 in restitution, a mandatory assessment fee of $2,700, and a forfeiture money judgment of $1,111,280.
Steven Merrill, a Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, confirmed that the FBI will be closely monitoring similar cases to ensure the responsible parties face legal consequences. He stated, “This verdict should serve as a reminder that the FBI will thoroughly investigate advance fees tied to inheritance scams and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”