Six people charged in Houston in $7 million international investment scam.
The charges against the six individuals were for their participation in an elaborate international advance fee and money laundering scheme. The scheme involved the impersonation of Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) and JPMorgan Chase (Chase) executives, the fabrication of U.S. government documents, the creation of fraudulent investment agreements in the name of BB&T and Chase and the purchase of luxury vehicles to launder the proceeds of the scheme.
The scammers impersonated U.S. bank officials and financial consultants over the Internet and by phone and conned the victims into thinking they would receive millions of dollars of investment funding as part of joint ventures with U.S. banks, usually BB&T or Chase.
The scamers used fake Internet domains to make it appear that senders of emails were actually affiliated with BB&T or Chase.
To convince victims the opportunities were authentic, the perpetrators recruited U.S. citizens to pose as bank “representatives” at in-person meetings with victims around the world and outside of the USA they used sham visits to the local U.S. embassy or consulate and fabricated U.S. government documents to make the victims believe the U.S. government was sponsoring the investment agreements.
The victims were then induced to pay tens of thousands, and often hundreds of thousands, of dollars to U.S.-based bank accounts on the belief that such payments were necessary to complete their investment agreements.
Money movers in the U.S. liquidated the proceeds through outgoing wire transfers to exporters, cash withdrawals and purchases of vehicles, including luxury brands such as Land Rover and Mercedes Benz, which were then shipped to Nigeria.
Recovery of Funds
The scheme resulted in losses of more than $7 million from victims in more than 20 countries.
To date, a house in Richmond, a Range Rover car and approximately $200,000 in cash have been seized.
Well done the FBI.
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