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Document and Benefit Fraud

Man who claimed to be Congo president's son pleads guilty to defrauding victims out of nearly $2 million

SAN FRANCISCO – A San Francisco man, who claimed his father was president of the Congo, has pleaded guilty to wire fraud charges stemming from a probe by the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Blessed Marvelous Herve, 41, pleaded guilty Sept. 6 in federal court to wire fraud. In pleading guilty, Herve admitted that from 2006 through 2012, he devised and executed a scheme to defraud victims out of approximately $1.6 million through a series of fraudulent statements, representations and promises. Herve admitted he falsely represented to victims that his father was the president of the Congo and a multibillionaire.

Herve falsely told his victims the U.S. government had recently seized more than $43 million of his money and he sought their financial assistance to prevail in a federal court case to gain access to the funds. Herve admitted signing four promissory notes promising to pay one victim sums of $500,000 and $1 million in exchange for the victim’s financial support of Herve’s purported quest to obtain the $43 million the government had supposedly seized.

Herve also admitted he falsely represented to victims that because of his federal court case, he was in federal prison from 2009 through 2012. During this time, Herve fraudulently solicited funds from a second victim. Herve promised this victim full repayment of her money, plus a bonus of $1 million and a luxury car upon the completion of his federal case and the release of his seized funds. Last year, Herve solicited and received $47,000 from the second victim. He falsely claimed he needed the funds to pay the Internal Revenue Service to satisfy the final judgment entered against him, and that this final payment of $47,000 would result in the release of his seized millions.

Herve was arrested April 24 based upon a criminal complaint. He has been in custody since his arrest. Herve was indicted by a federal grand jury in May on one count of wire fraud, to which he pleaded guilty under a plea agreement.

Herve’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 22. The wire fraud charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. In his plea agreement, Herve agreed to pay approximately $1.7 million in restitution to his victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Hallie Hoffman is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elizabeth Garcia, Bridget Kilkenny and Muffy Mallory.