BOSTON – A Rhode Island man was sentenced today in connection with a conspiracy to launder funds derived from business email compromise (BEC) schemes, including one that targeted a Dorchester, Mass. real estate attorney.
Sayon Balogun a/k/a “Oshine,” 32, a dual citizen of the United States and Nigeria, was sentenced by U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to 42 months in prison and three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $434,832 in restitution. Balogun was initially charged by criminal complaint on May 31, 2019, and arrested in Florida on June 10, 2019.
In January 2018, Balogun’s co-conspirators gained access to email accounts belonging to a Massachusetts attorney engaged in real estate closings. The co-conspirators then mimicked (spoofed) the real estate attorney’s email account and sent emails to a Massachusetts resident who was the purchaser in a legitimate real estate transaction. The spoofed emails directed the Massachusetts real estate purchaser to wire transfer $531,981 (which the purchaser believed was for a legitimate real estate transaction) to the Wells Fargo account of a California woman, who in turn sent $60,000 to an account in the name of “David Tecum,” a fraudulent identity used by one of Balogun’s co-conspirators, Oghenetchouwe Adegor Ederaine, Jr. This account, and others, were opened by Ederaine to receive fraudulent proceeds at Balogun’s direction.
Ederaine pleaded guilty in April 2019 to aggravated identity theft and money laundering conspiracy and was sentenced to 40 months in prison.
United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division made the announcement today. The United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI in the Southern District of Florida provided valuable assistance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mackenzie A. Queenin of Lelling’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.