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Nigerian Man Admits to Role in Money Laundering and Passport Fraud Conspiracies Using Business Email Compromise (BEC) Schemes

Recently Chukwunonso Obiora, a Nigerian national who previously lived in Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to charges of passport fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani has scheduled his sentencing for October 8, 2024. Obiora was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, in October 2023 and indicted in January 2024.

It is alleged that Obiora and his co-conspirators laundered proceeds from business email compromise (BEC) schemes. BEC schemes involve cybercriminals using email to impersonate trusted business contacts to trick companies into wiring money to accounts controlled by the criminals.

Business email compromise (BEC)—also known as email account compromise (EAC) exploits the fact that people rely on email to conduct business—both personal and professional.

Some of the alleged conspiracy methods used include:

• Identity Theft and Forgery: Obtaining victims’ identification to create fake driver’s licenses, incorporate businesses, and open bank accounts.
• Setting Up Fraudulent Accounts: Providing these accounts to co-conspirators to receive fraudulent wire transfers.
• Rapidly withdrawing funds before the victims realized the fraud.
• Redistributing Funds: Moving the stolen money to other accounts and wiring it to associates in Nigeria, China, and other locations.
• To conceal their activities, the conspirators forged business invoices, wrote false memos on checks to make the deposits appear legitimate, and lied to banks about the nature of the transactions.

It is believed that Obiora and his alleged accomplices kept at least 40% of the deposited BEC proceeds as their payment and that they managed over $6.5 million in fraudulent transactions.

Obiora could face up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 for the Passport Fraud Conspiracy Charges. For the Money Laundering Conspiracy Charges he could face up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the amount of the laundered funds, forfeiture, and restitution.

If you face serious fraud or conspiracy to commit fraud charges, then please contact the attorneys at Dhar Law LLP who can assist you to fight these federal charges. Our federal criminal defense team has defended many federal criminal fraud cases such as money laundering wire fraud and mail fraud. Contact us today at 617-880-6155 to learn more.


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Heading up the firm, Vikas Dhar is widely recognized as a leader in the New England legal community. An accomplished business litigator and a “Top 40 Under 40” criminal defense attorney, he has also been honored as a New England Super Lawyer/Rising Star in the area of White-Collar Criminal Defense for each of the past six years by Boston Magazine.

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