Investigators in the US are probing a trade-based money laundering (TBML) network that is supporting the activities of internet fraudsters.
The investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has already resulted in charges brought against two alleged fraudsters.
US banking system
The FBI is investigating a ring of Africa-based perpetrators who are engaging in internet-enabled fraud schemes targeting US citizens.
Investigators say that as part of the criminal scheme, several individuals in the US have joined in a conspiracy to assist the criminal conduct by concealing illegally obtained money largely through TBML across the US banking system.
Internet fraud proceeds
Two Florida men have been charged this month with conspiring to launder money taken from victims across the US, many of whom were elderly, as a part of a series of romance scams and other internet frauds.
Marlin Perra and Leslie Lallande allegedly laundered the proceeds of romance scams and other fraud scams through a TBML scheme.
They tried to conceal the fraudulent proceeds stolen from romance scam victims by claiming that entities they controlled were in the business of buying and shipping used cars. Lallande and his conspirators prepared and executed fraudulent agreements that purported to be signed by victims agreeing to invest in Lallande’s alleged automobile business.
In fact, these agreements were phony cover stories designed to paper over their receipt and movement of the romance scam proceeds.
While the investigation remains ongoing, law enforcement estimates that Perra has laundered over approximately US$2.7 million in fraudulent proceeds and that Lallande and co-conspirators have laundered over approximately US$14 million in fraudulent proceeds.
The FBI’s complaint against Perra and Lallande can be found here.
Categories: Trade Based Financial crimes News