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Nigerian US resident, sibling charged for money laundering

A Nigerian national based in Los Angeles, Kinston Osagie, 53, and his sibling Roland Ighiwiyisi, 40, based in Nigeria were on Monday, charged before a United States District Court over alleged conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The two Nigerian nationals, Osagie his sibling, Ighiwiyisi also known as Roland Osagie were alleged to have conspired to launder proceeds obtained from victims of wire fraud.

The duo were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h), while Osagie was in another four counts charged for violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957.

According to the indictment filed and obtained, the prosecution is the result of an investigation by the United States Secret Service, the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mohit Gourisaria revealed.

The indictment revealed that Osagie opened at least 18 different U.S. bank accounts between January 2015 and August 2020 which received approximately $6 million in cash, check and wire deposits.

Osagie and Ighiwiyisi are both charged in one count of the indictment with conspiracy to commit money laundering from March 2019 to April 2020, a time period in which Osagie transferred fraud victims’ money to accounts owned or controlled by Ighiwiyisi.

The 53-year-old Osagie is also charged in the indictment with four additional counts of specific acts of laundering money from romance scam victims. Of these four counts, Osagie was charged with laundering a total of $267,000 obtained from one woman who sent money to help a fake male persona named “Merry Mattias” she had met through Match.com.

The fourth count charges Osagie with laundering $20,300 sent by another woman to a different fake persona she met through the online platform Words with Friends.

Each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000, as well as three years of supervised release once imprisonment ends, the United States Department of Justice revealed.

According to the indictment, “Ighiwiyisi is owner and director of a company incorporated in Nigeria, banks at a Nigeria-incorporated bank, and is living or has resided in Nigeria. Osagie and Ighiwiyisi, according to the indictment, discussed their common mother who lived in Nigeria.”

Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in United District Court in San Francisco released Osagie on a $100,000 bond and scheduled his next appearance for July 23, 2021.

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