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Financial Crimes

2 men plead guilty to impersonating U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in advance fee fraud scheme

MIAMI - Saleumsak Khammungkhune, 57, of San Diego, and David Johnson, aka Ukoha Eke, 39, a Nigerian national residing in Upper Marlboro, Md., pleaded guilty to conspiring to impersonate U.S. officers and to commit wire fraud following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).

David Johnson pleaded guilty earlier today before U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas to conspiracy to impersonate a federal officer and to commit wire fraud. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 16. On Aug. 17, Saleumsak Khammungkhune pleaded guilty to the same charge and is facing up to five years in prison at his sentencing on Oct. 26.

The defendants admitted to posing as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers in a conspiracy which contacted victims through the Internet. Victims were told that $10 million had arrived for them from Nigeria, but that they had to pay U.S. customs duties and fees to obtain the money. Through this "advance fee" scheme, conspirators defrauded victims out of approximately $300,000.

ICE special agents, in two sting operations, arrested Johnson in Greenbelt, Md. on May 13, and Khammungkhune at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla., on May 15.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kerry S. Baron.