A Nigerian car dealer who previously lived in the United States, Tochukwu Abel Edeh, was arrested and charged with “allegedly operating an unlicensed money transfer business to launder the proceeds of fraudulent online investment schemes.”
Edeh lived in Jacksonville, Florida, and was arrested on September 2, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.
âAccording to the indictment, Edeh operated used car dealerships and currency transfer services in Texas, Florida and Nigeria. This included a trading company as well as a cryptocurrency and e-commerce company, both based in Nigeria, through which Edeh traded Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at a profit.
The indictment alleged that around 2015, Edeh conspired with others to launder and pass on the proceeds of Nigeria-based Ponzi-type investment fraud schemes.
Specifically, the schemes purported to offer Bitcoin trading and investment services when in fact investor funds were allegedly stolen and subsequent victims’ investments were used to pay supposed returns to previous investors.
Edeh is said to have laundered the proceeds of the fraud using a network of co-conspirators in the United States and using his personal and work accounts in the United States and Nigeria. Edeh, along with his alleged co-conspirators, did not hold a money transmission license in their respective resident states, nor were they registered as money transmitters as required by federal law. .
The money laundering conspiracy charge carries a sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $ 500,000 or double the value of the laundered funds, whichever is greater.
The conspiracy charge to conduct an unlicensed money transfer business carries a sentence of five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $ 250,000 or double the gain or loss, depending on the case. the higher of the two.