ATLANTA - Nnamdi Marcellus MgBodile has been sentenced to prison for bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud after being convicted at trial. For years, MgBodile opened and directed others to open fraudulent business bank accounts that received millions of dollars from various online frauds. He and others then laundered these funds to other accounts, including dozens of accounts overseas.
“MgBodile and his co-conspirators are representative of the transnational fraudsters who have had had a devastating impact on U.S. residents and businesses,” said U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “The groups perpetrating these romance scams and business email compromise frauds target their victims indiscriminately and have caused billions of dollars of losses for victims in recent years.”
“As evidenced by the length of the prison sentence in this case, fraud is a heinous crime that can destroy people’s lives,” said U.S. Secret Service Special Agent In Charge Steven R. Baisel. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and bring to justice those who prey on the vulnerable.”
According to U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges, and other information presented in court: Nnamdi Marcellus MgBodile opened and directed others to open fraudulent bank accounts in Georgia, New York, and California for sham companies that did not have physical premises, earn legitimate income, or pay wages to employees. MgBodile recruited at least five other individuals to open the fraudulent business bank accounts, including a former bank employee who he bribed to continue to open accounts even after others have been closed for fraud.
MgBodile used these fraudulent accounts to launder the proceeds of various fraudulent schemes, including a romance scam that defrauded a Virginia woman out of more than $5 million, and business email compromise (“BEC”) scams in which MgBodile and others attempted to defraud a Georgia company of nearly $350,000, and an Alabama company of more than $800,000.
Romance scams are a type of online fraud in which victims are targeted by individuals posing as potential paramours. The fraudsters create fake online dating profiles (often with photographs of attractive men or women) and use these fake personas to express strong romantic interest in the victims in order to trick them into sending money to them or their co-conspirators under false pretenses. Romance scams frequently target vulnerable individuals who possess significant financial assets, such as retired widows or widowers.
The evidence at trial showed that at the end of November 2017 a Virginia woman, who signatory authority over a sizable trust that had been established for her children, met a person (“James Deere”) through an on-line dating service. She was soon convinced that she was in a romantic relationship with “Deere.” Over the next month, the victim communicated via email with Deere, whom she believed had fallen for her. Deere said he wanted to start a life with her and was excited to live with her, but first had to resolve an investment opportunity—an opportunity that was totally fraudulent and fictitious.
Deere told the victim that he was a fund manager and he was on the verge of receiving a sizeable commission (“the funds”) for services provided to an unnamed client. Deere explained to the victim that he needed her to be his “representative partner” and have the Funds deposited into the victim’s bank account to avoid an alleged conflict of interest.
In January and February 2018, after luring the victim, “Deere” and conspirators started requesting via email that she pay various “fees” and “taxes” so that the funds could be released. Between approximately January 2, 2018 and February 12, 2018, and in response to representations made by “Deere” and others regarding the Funds, the victim made approximately twenty-five wire transfers totaling more than $5 million from the trust account into various bank accounts, of which $1.35 million was wired to accounts controlled by MgBodile. After the fraudulent funds hit the accounts controlled by MgBodile, they were then wired to other accounts controlled by MgBodile or overseas accounts in China and the Middle East.
BEC scams commonly involve an employee of a company who has been fooled into responding with email messages that appear to be, but are not, legitimate (“spoof emails”). At trial, the evidence showed that in March 2019, MgBodile and others attempted to defraud a Georgia company out of nearly $350,000 after the Georgia company received emails from what it believed was Oxford Finance, a company that had provided financing to the victim company. The emails fraudulently represented that the victim needed to wire Oxford Finance a quarterly payment rather than being drawn via an automated clearing house, typically referred to as an ACH. None of the emails purporting to be sent from Oxford Finance was actually sent by Oxford Finance. Rather, these “spoof emails” were sent from a domain, “oxfordfiinance.com,” which appeared to be Oxford Finance’s, but was not. Oxford Finance’s actual domain is “oxfordfinance.com” (only one “i" in finance). The emails also appeared to come from Oxford Finance because the purported sender is an actual employee of Oxford Finance and the email’s signature line contained Oxford Finance’s correct physical address
Nnamdi Marcellus MgBodile, 37, of Marietta, Georgia, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael Brown to 13 years in prison to be followed by five years of supervised release. He was charged by a federal grand jury in November 2019 with twenty counts of bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. A federal jury convicted him of these charges on May 13, 2021 following an eight-day trial.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is part of the Department of Justice Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force. The Strike Force focuses on investigating and prosecuting defendants associated with foreign-based fraud schemes that disproportionately affect American seniors. These include romance scams, phone scams, mass-mailing fraud schemes, and tech-support fraud schemes. For further information on these scams, see https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/senior-scam-alert.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex R. Sistla prosecuted the case.