Skip to main content
September 6, 2022Austin, TX, United StatesFinancial Crimes

HSI Austin, federal partner investigation results in 10-year sentencing of Texas man for role in fraud scheme

AUSTIN, Texas - A Central Texas man was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution for his role in a money laundering scheme; the investigation was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) along with U.S. Postal Inspections Service (USPIS).

Okanlawon Azeez Egerongbe, aka Tony Kunle, Alex Tohee, 37, of Round Rock, was sentenced Aug. 26 by a federal judge to serve to 120 months in federal prison and pay $633,520 in restitution. On May 18, 2021, Egerongbe pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.

“Let this sentence serve as a notice that HSI is committed to actively investigating individuals who prey on the vulnerable to perpetuate financial crimes,” said Craig Larrabee, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Antonio. “These types of crimes have devastating effects on the victims and our financial institutions. HSI will continue to aggressively pursue cyber criminals and financial fraudsters to the full extent of the law and will fight to recover and legally return victim funds to their rightful owner.

“The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has a long and proud history of protecting the U.S. Mail and investigating fraud schemes,” said Scott Fix, Inspector in Charge of the Houston Division of the USPIS. “Okanlawon Egerongbe devised multiple schemes to defraud innocent people and misused Postal Service products and the U.S. Mail to facilitate his crime. Postal Inspectors will continue to work with our law enforcement partners, including HSI Austin, to ensure anyone using the U.S. Mail for fraudulent financial gains are brought to justice.”

“My office will continue to pursue fraudsters and identity thieves who use the internet to prey on vulnerable victims online,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “That includes the money launderers who enable these transnational criminal networks by concealing and transferring their ill-gotten gains. The tragic suicide of one of the romance fraud victims in this case, who suffered the betrayal and the loss of so much hard-earned money, underscores the real-world impact of these online scams.”

According to court records, Egerongbe knowingly laundered millions of dollars from victims that he obtained through various fraud schemes. The frauds included romance, business email compromise (BEC), unemployment insurance, and investment scams all designed to trick innocent victims through false pretenses. The amount of attempted and actual loss from the conspiracy was at least $3.5 million. To perpetuate the frauds, Egerongbe used fake passports to open multiple bank accounts in Austin. He would then structure withdrawals into smaller amounts to avoid a transaction reporting requirement. Many victims faced serious financial hardship from these schemes.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Keith M. Henneke and Michael C. Galdo, Western District of Texas, prosecuted the case.

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.