The Department of Justice has filed a federal criminal complaint against Charles K. Egunjobi, age 48, of Waldorf, Maryland, alleging that he operated an unlicensed money service business relating to online romance scams. Ebunjobi had his initial appearance in the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland on Friday, August 26th.
Money Laundering Scams
The DOJ claims that Egunjobi defrauded more than 20 victims, many of who were senior citizens. According to the affidavit filed in support of the complaint, Egunjobi was a financial auditor for the District of Columbia Government where he supports criminal investigations.
The affidavit claims that Egunjobi facilitated the money laundering operations of a romance scheme involving co-defendant Isidore Iwuagwu, age 35, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The alleged romance scam co-conspirators contacted victims on social media platforms and dating sites, engaged in online relationships with the victims, then convinced victims to send large sums of money claiming the funds were needed for purported personal hardships.
How the Scams Worked
Many victims reported sending funds at the request of individuals claiming to be deployed members of the U.S. armed forces who asked for money for various personal hardships.
One of the alleged victims reported that she sent thousands of dollars to various individuals in the United States, including to Egunjobi, based on the instructions given to her by an individual she met on a dating website, who claimed to be a U.S. soldier deployed in Iraq.
According to the complaint, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Egunjobi's residence on August 10, 2022. As a result of that search, law enforcement found what appeared to be a ledger, listing Egunjobi's name, bank account information, dates of transactions, and notations. Some of the transaction dates recorded in the ledger matched the victim's money order transfers. The affidavit further alleged that law enforcement discovered messages on Egunjobi's phone from individuals asking Egunjobi to transfer money or vehicles from the United States to Nigeria. Messages between Egunjobi and Iwuagwu allegedly indicate that Egunjobi assisted Iwuagwu to obtain Nigerian currency in exchange for Egunjobi receiving U.S. currency.
If convicted, Egunjobi faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for operating an unlicensed money service business.
About The Author
Jonathan Wilson is the co-founder of FinCEN Report Company with 31 years of experience in corporate, M&A and securities matters. He is the author of The Corporate Transparency Act Compliance Guide (to be published by Lexis Nexis in the summer of 2023) and the Lexis Practical Guidance Practice Note on the Corporate Transparency Act.