The U.S. Department of Justice has indicted five people on charges of money laundering paid by victims of telemarketing fraud schemes, including some money transfers originating in Pennsylvania's midstate area.
Betty Agho, Itoham Agho-Allen, Prince Edosa and Susan Osagiede, all of Brooklyn, New York; and Kennedy Onaiwu of Irvington, New Jersey, are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering, four counts of mail fraud and 14 counts of wire fraud.
All five defendants were agents of Western Union or Moneygram outlets in New York and New Jersey, and had been recruited to process money transfers received from fraud victims, according to the indictment. Between April 2004 and November 2010, the indictment alleges, money transfers originating in York, Lebanon, Chambersburg and other Pennsylvania cities were transmitted through facilities in New York, Canada and Nigeria.
According to the indictment, hundreds of victims gave up more than $3 million to sweepstakes, loans, employment opportunities and Internet purchases that falsely promised financial awards and valuables. The scheme allegedly included mail, wire and bank transfer facilities in Pennsylvania, New York, Canada and Nigeria. The defendants entered false identification into the Western Union and Moneygram computer systems to hide the nature of the transaction and the identities of the schemers, according to the indictment.
Three of the defendants were arrested during the past week. After detention hearings in Harrisburg, Agho was ordered to be detained, and Onaiwu was released on $20,000 unsecured bond. Agho-Allen is scheduled to be arraigned April 4.
Anyone with information or complaints about suspected marketing fraud schemes should contact their nearest United States Post Office or call 1-888-USMAIL-5.