‘Money mule’ sentenced to jail for helping transfer money for fraudulent schemes

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — A woman convicted of being a “financial mule” for fraudulent schemes originating in Nigeria was sentenced by a federal judge on Thursday to 2½ years in prison.

Deborah Anderson, 30, a Nigerian national who lived in Cleveland, was also ordered by US District Judge Donald Nugent to pay $438,604.89 in restitution to her victims. Anderson pleaded guilty in June to one count of wire fraud.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, Anderson was part of a scheme that obtained money from victims through fake investment opportunities, romance scams, fraudulent sales or rentals. and other methods. The flights took place from June 2018 to August 2020.

Anderson served as a “money mule”, meaning someone who transfers or moves illegally acquired money on behalf of others. Prosecutors say the victims transferred money to accounts controlled by Anderson, who then transferred the money to unknown people in Nigeria.

Anderson also used the victims’ money to purchase items for herself and then exported them to Nigeria.

As part of the sentencing, Anderson was ordered to report to the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement at the end of his sentence.

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