NEW YORK - Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that a jury returned a guilty verdict against NADINE JAZIMNE WADE on all four counts in the Indictment, which contained money laundering and bank fraud charges. The defendant was found guilty following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said: “Nadine Wade used a sham women’s clothing company as a front to launder over $2 million in fraud proceeds on behalf of scam artists in Nigeria and South Africa. The romance scams perpetrated by Wade’s partners were cruel, targeting vulnerable, elderly men and women and tricking them into transferring their life savings to the defendant, who then took her cut and sent the money to other members of the scheme. Money launderers who assist online scammers abroad will be held accountable for their crimes by this Office.”
According to the Indictment, statements made in public court proceedings and filings, and the evidence at trial:
From in or about 2016 through in or about 2021, co-conspirators of WADE based in Nigeria and South Africa committed a series of romance scams against individuals located across the United States. Those co-conspirators used aliases, including the names “Diego Francisco” and “Richard Francisco” (the “Francisco Alias”), to meet victims on various dating websites. The co-conspirators used online photographs of a male model when providing victims with photos of the Francisco Alias. After engaging in romantic conversations with the victims via phone, text, and email, those co-conspirators, posing as the Francisco Alias, asked victims for money. The reasons why the Francisco Alias needed money varied. In one version of the scheme, the Francisco Alias supposedly worked on an oil rig and needed funds to repair the rig. The Francisco Alias then instructed the victims to transfer funds to bank accounts controlled by WADE and others. The means of transfer also varied. In some cases, for example, the Francisco Alias instructed victims to obtain cashier’s checks made payable to WADE or her shell company and to mail those checks to WADE.
WADE received fraud proceeds from victims of the Francisco Alias in personal bank accounts and business bank accounts for her shell company Royal Treasure Chest LLC, a company purportedly involved in, among other things, the sale of women’s clothing and accessories. Once WADE received fraud proceeds, she rapidly depleted her bank accounts of those funds through cash withdrawals, cashier’s checks, and the purchase of vehicles, among other means. After taking her own cut of the money, WADE transferred the bulk of the funds to other members of the scheme.
From in or about 2016 through in or about 2021, WADE controlled more than 18 bank accounts that had deposits totaling over $2 million. Most of those deposits consisted of wire transfers and check or cash deposits from U.S.-based individuals who were victims of the romance fraud scam described above.
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NADINE JAZMINE WADE, 30, of the Bronx, New York, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of money laundering, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison; one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison; and one count of bank fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant would be determined by a judge.
Mr. Williams praised the outstanding work of the U.S. Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation for their assistance in this investigation.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Micah F. Fergenson, Matthew J. King, and Dina McLeod are in charge of the prosecution, with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Jayda Foote.