TRENTON, N.J. – An Essex County, New Jersey, woman was sentenced to 24 months in prison for her role in a business email compromise (BEC) scheme that affected numerous corporate and individual victims throughout the nation, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Lucy Beswick, 31, of Newark, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan to an information charging her with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Judge Sheridan imposed the sentence on March 23, 2023, in Trenton federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From July 2017 to March 2018, Beswick and others participated in a BEC scheme designed to enrich its conspirators financially by stealing more than $400,000 in proceeds from individual and corporate victims. Conspirators recruited money mules to provide their personal identifying information in connection with the incorporation of sham businesses with the New Jersey Department of the Treasury under the money mules’ names. Under the instruction of conspirators, including Beswick, the money mules then opened bank accounts under the names of the sham corporations.
A related cyber-attack arm of the scheme involved the creation of email addresses mimicking, but differing slightly from, legitimate email addresses of supervisory employees of various victim companies, of vendors that did business with those victim companies, of mortgage lenders and brokers that dealt with individual victims in connection with real estate purchases, and of advisors and accountants who performed financial services for their clients. Conspirators sent emails from these addresses to several victims, which appeared to request the payment of legitimate invoices or debts owed by the victims, but in actuality deceived the victims into transferring funds by wire into the bogus bank accounts. After the victims complied with the fraudulent wiring instructions, Beswick and others, under the direction of other conspirators, quickly debited from the bank accounts they had opened and which they controlled, thousands of dollars in cash through in-person and ATM withdrawals and debit card purchases, while also transferring by wire from the bogus bank accounts to foreign bank accounts controlled by conspirators hundreds of thousands of dollars in stolen funds. Beswick ordinarily kept a fraction of the ill-gotten proceeds as compensation.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Sheridan sentenced Beswick to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay $328,467 in restitution and $15,000 in forfeiture.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James D. Dennehy in Newark, and special agents of the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jose Riera, with the investigation leading to the sentencing.
The government is represented by Eric A. Boden, Attorney in Charge of the Trenton Office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.