TBML extensively used to launder proceeds of frauds by Ghana-based criminal enterprise

Trade-based money laundering (TBML) was employed extensively by a Ghana-based criminal enterprise to obscure the origin of the proceeds of a variety of frauds perpetrated in the US, including romance scams targeting the elderly, business email compromise scams, and fraudulently obtained Covid-19 relief loans.

The TBML scheme also obscured the identity of the ultimate beneficiaries of these schemes.

TBML scheme

In the trial of one of the fraudsters, Fred Asante, a US court heard that he primarily laundered the fraud proceeds through his business by purchasing automobiles, food products, and other goods from US-based suppliers and shipping those products to Ghana and elsewhere.

The defendant’s transactions had the appearance of legitimate business transactions when, in reality, the products had been purchased using the proceeds of fraud schemes.

Multiple bank accounts

In total, from around 2016 to 2020, Asante controlled over a dozen business bank accounts with deposits totalling over US$35 million.

Asante pleaded guilty earlier this week to conspiracy to commit money laundering for his role in the criminal enterprise which is alleged to have netted at least US$50 million from its illegal activities.


Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News

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