Nan Ma, 37, of Hurricane, Utah, is a Chinese citizen with legal permanent resident status in the United States. He faces a maximum penalty, for each of the three wire fraud counts of, 20 years in federal prison. The six money laundering counts each have a potential maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
As part of the operation that led to the multimillion cash seizure, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers conducted an outbound cargo inspection on board the Motor Vessel Norma H II Voyage 818. During the inspection, a CBP K-9 alerted on pallets containing home moving boxes destined for St. Thomas.
These three terror finance campaigns all relied on sophisticated cyber-tools, including the solicitation of cryptocurrency donations from around the world. The action demonstrates how different terrorist groups have similarly adapted their terror finance activities to the cyber age.
According to court documents, Brooks Thomas Nesbitt, 37, of Ontario, Canada, was a member of a large, international fraud and money-laundering ring, led by Mary Kathryn Marr. Between at least 2014 and 2019, Nesbitt operated boiler rooms located outside of the United States.
Valerian Chiochiu, aka “Onassis,” “Flagler,” “Socrate,” and “Eclessiastes,” 30, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge James C. Mahan in the District of Nevada. Chiochiu is a national of the Republic of Moldova, but resided in the United States during the period of the conspiracy. His plea came just over a month after the co-founder and administrator of Infraud, Sergey Medvedev of Russia, separately pleaded guilty June 26. Sentencing for Chiochiu has been scheduled for Dec. 11.
Kais Mohammad, 36, a.k.a. “Superman29,”, of Yorba Linda, was charged in a three-count criminal information filed today in U.S. District Court. In a plea agreement also filed today, Mohammad agreed to plead guilty to one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, one count of money laundering, and one count of failure to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program.
Samuel Aniukwu, 46, a Nigerian national residing in Romeoville, Illinois; Anthony Emeka Ibekie, 55, a Nigerian national residing in Oswego, Illinois; and, Jennifer Gosha, 48, a U.S. citizen residing in Oak Park, Illinois were charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Maikel Jose Moreno Perez, 54, current Chief Justice of the Venezuelan Supreme Court, was charged via a criminal complaint in the Southern District of Florida with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering in connection with the alleged corrupt receipt or intended receipt of tens of millions of dollars and bribes to illegally fix dozens of civil and criminal cases in Venezuela.
Bernard Lopez, 40, of Sayreville, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of bank fraud, one count of theft of government funds and one count of aggravated identity theft. He was arrested July 6, appeared July 8 by teleconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lauren F. Louis in the Southern District of Florida, and is expected to appear by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre later this week.
Geoffrey Eldridge Hull, 40, who maintained offices on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, was arrested Wednesday evening by special agents with ICE's HSI. Hull was arrested pursuant to a federal grand jury indictment that charges him with six counts of wire fraud related to his “lease consignment” program.
Turhan Lemont Armstrong, 50, of Northridge, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner, who also ordered him to pay $3,305,609 in restitution. Judge Klausner also has ordered the forfeiture of two homes – one in Northridge, the other in Perris – purchased with illicit funds obtained from the scheme.
Dr. Eric R. Shibley, 41, of Seattle, Washington, was charged by criminal complaint, unsealed today upon his arrest, in the Western District of Washington with one count of wire fraud and one count of bank fraud. He is expected to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michelle L. Peterson at 2 p.m. PDT today.
Infraud was an Internet-based cybercriminal enterprise engaged in the large-scale acquisition, sale, and dissemination of stolen identities, compromised debit and credit cards, personally identifiable information, financial and banking information, computer malware, and other contraband.
As the result of a probe by ICE's HSI Los Angeles, the U.S. Secret Service and the Glendale Police Department, Mikayel Hmayakyan, 43, pleaded guilty to two counts of bank fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Former Maricopa County Assessor Paul Petersen pleaded guilty today in Maricopa County Superior Court to running an adoption fraud scheme that involved bringing pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the U.S. to give birth, fraudulently billing those medical expenses to Arizona taxpayers. While Petersen faces charges in three states – Arizona, Utah and Arkansas – today’s plea agreements only resolve Petersen’s criminal cases in Arizona.