Green belt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel sentenced Eunice Nkongho, aka “Eunice Bisong,” 40, of California, late today to two years in federal prison, followed by three years of probation, for conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering, related to a scheme to fraudulently obtain property using what appeared to be a military email address, but was actually a Yahoo email address recorded. Judge Hazel also ordered Nkongho to pay restitution of $399,780. A federal jury found Nkongho guilty of the money laundering charges on October 15, 2021, after a seven-day trial.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Christopher Dillard of the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service – Mid-Atlantic Field Office; Acting Special Agent in Charge Selwyn Smith of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; and Special Agent in Charge Nasir Khan of the United States Department of Commerce, Washington Field Office of the Office of Export Enforcement.

According to testimony during the seven-day trial and court documents, an Nkongho co-conspirator set up and used what was believed to be a US Navy email address, authentic forms, titles, addresses and documents. other clues to impersonating a government contractor and fraudulently obtaining goods, including large-screen televisions, specialized communications equipment, iPhones and iPads. Much of the fraud scheme was carried out from outside the United States, including from Nigeria. Three victimized companies – one that provided wireless voice and data services headquartered in Washington State, one that was a wholesale audio-video distributor and manufacturer’s representative located in Virginia, and a defense contractor which designed, manufactured and marketed communications equipment which was headquartered in Maryland – was shipping goods, without prepayment, to co-conspirators on the East Coast. These individuals then shipped the stolen items to other co-conspirators on the West Coast, where they were sold.

Specifically, evidence at trial proved that Nkongho twice received bags of money from a co-conspirator in the parking lot of a gas station in Los Angeles, which came from the sale of Apple products. obtained fraudulently. Nkongho then laundered the money through two separate series of complex transactions involving at least five bank accounts and in doing so both furthered the ongoing criminal activity and concealed the illegal source of the funds. After several transactions, Nkongho transferred some of that money to a co-conspirator in Nigeria in a way that would avoid transaction reporting requirements.

Similarly, the evidence at trial proved that Nkongho engaged in other transactions to conceal the nature and ownership of the proceeds from the sale of the fraudulently obtained television sets. In one of the final acts of the plot, Nkongho provided a bag full of more than $110,000 in cash to another co-conspirator so he could compensate other members of the plot for their roles in the television program.

Eight of the nine defendants charged in the case, including Nkongho, were convicted for their role in the fraudulent scheme. The latest accused, Eunice Nkongho’s husband, Peter Unakalu, is a fugitive.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and Commerce Department’s Bureau of Export Enforcement for their work in the investigation and thanked the FBI Washington Field Office and the Navy Criminal Investigative Service for their assistance. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph R. Baldwin and Adam K. Ake, who are prosecuting the case.

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