BOSTON — The owner of a used car dealership in Fall River has been charged and has agreed to plead guilty to money laundering.
Augustine Osemwegie, 54, of Milton, was charged and agreed to plead guilty to one count of money laundering. A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled by the court.
According to court documents, Osemwegie used his car dealership, vehicle auctions and international car transportation to launder and pass on the proceeds of romance scams, pandemic unemployment fraud and other fraudulent schemes. Specifically, Osemwegie accepted fraud proceeds in cash from “customers”, took a percentage fee for laundering the funds, and then used the remaining funds to purchase used vehicles at auto auctions, allegedly for l use by its customers. Osemwegie then shipped these vehicles overseas, primarily to Nigeria, where they were sold for the benefit of Osemwegie’s customers.
In September 2020, during recorded calls and meetings with an undercover agent, Osemwegie agreed to accept the proceeds of the agent’s fraud and transfer them overseas, under the guise of buying a sedan used luxury.
The money laundering charge carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of probation and a $250,000 fine. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on US sentencing guidelines and the laws that govern sentencing in a criminal case.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Stearns of Rollins’ Securities, Finance and Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by a court.