BOSTON — The owner of a used car dealership in Fall River pleaded guilty yesterday to money laundering.
Augustine Osemwegie, 54, of Milton, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering. U.S. Primary District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel set his sentence for August 3, 2022.
Osemwegie has used its 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 undercover agent’s fraud and transfer them overseas, under the guise of buy a used luxury sedan.
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, Financial & Cyber Fraud unit is prosecuting the case.