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Northern District of Georgia | The fugitive defendant, who fled during the trial, was convicted by the federal jury for laundering millions of dollars stolen from fraud victims across the US

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Northern District of Georgia |  The fugitive defendant, who fled during the trial, was convicted by the federal jury for laundering millions of dollars stolen from fraud victims across the US

 

ATLANTA – After a nine-day trial, Ahamefule Aso Odus was found guilty by a federal jury on 12 counts of money laundering arising from his role in a massive money laundering operation. Odus fled after testifying during his trial and is currently a fugitive.

“Odus and his co-conspirators laundered millions of dollars stolen from corporations and individuals in the United States and abroad,” said US Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan. “Although Odus is on the run, he cannot and will not escape justice for his crimes. We will continue to devote our office’s time and resources to uncovering these types of complex activities and holding those perpetrators accountable.”

“As the sole defendant in Operation Five Fingers who refused to accept a charge and chose to go to trial, this speedy jury conviction demonstrates the massive amount of evidence law enforcement has on the crimes of Odus and his… co-conspirators,” said Keri Farley. Responsible special agent of the FBI Atlanta. “No matter how sophisticated or complicated the fraud scheme, the FBI and our federal partners will continue to uncover and uncover it to protect American citizens and businesses.”

“Ahamefule Aso Odus Jr. facilitated the theft of retirement plan assets by knowingly receiving fraudulently received funds from an individual’s ERISA-covered retirement account into his business bank account. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and the US Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration to protect the integrity of employee benefit plans,” said Mathew Broadhurst, Special Agent-in-Charge, Southeast Region, US Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General.

According to US Attorney Buchanan, the charges and other information presented in court: Ahamefule Aso Odus and his co-conspirators acted as money launderers for unknown scammers who defrauded millions of dollars from unsuspecting individuals and businesses. Members of the conspiracy, including Odus, set up shell companies and registered them with the Georgia Secretary of State. These companies maintained no physical place to conduct business, earned no legitimate income, and paid wages to their employees. Instead, the conspirators used these shell companies to open bank accounts and then funnel fraudulent funds through the accounts.

Upon receiving the proceeds of the scam, Odus and his co-conspirators quickly converted the money for their own use and the use of their criminal allies, through wire transfers, over-the-counter cash withdrawals, and the purchase of bank checks. This behavior included monetary transactions in excess of US$10,000 intended to hide and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership and control of these fraudulent proceeds.

Odus is one of 41 people originally charged in four related fraud and money laundering cases known collectively as “Operation Five Fingers”. Collectively, members of this criminal organization have laundered more than $30 million in fraud proceeds from victims of computer-assisted scams, including business email compromise schemes, romance fraud schemes, and retirement account takeover schemes.

To date, 39 of the 41 accused of Operation Five Fingers have been convicted. 25 of the accused were sentenced to between six months and eight years in prison. Charges against one defendant were dismissed after he died while fleeing, and one defendant is scheduled to plead guilty on March 10, 2023.

On January 30, 2023, a jury convicted Odus on one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and three counts of concealment of money laundering. The jury also convicted him of eight counts of transactional money laundering. In a two-part post-verdict trial, the jury forfeited $73,896 seized from Odus.

The sentencing of Ahamefule Aso Odus, 30, of Atlanta, Georgia, is scheduled for May 9, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. before U.S. District Judge William M. Ray II.

This case was investigated by the Department of Labor, the Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the United States Secret Service and the Homeland Security Investigations of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the auspices of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF). Program – the Department of Justice’s Keystone Drugs, Money Laundering and Transnational Organized Crime Enforcement Program. Investigators received significant assistance from numerous federal, state and local law enforcement agencies during the investigation.

Assistant US Attorneys Kelly K. Connors and Russell Phillips are prosecuting the case.

For more information, please contact the US Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The web address of the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.