HOUSTON – A 63-year-old Sugar Land resident has been ordered to federal prison following his convictions related to a mail and wire fraud conspiracy, announced U.S. Attorney Jennifer B. Lowery.
U.S. District Judge Charles Eskridge convicted Maxwell Chibueze Ezenwa on all 15 counts as charged Nov. 9, 2021, following a six-day bench trial. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit and eight counts of wire fraud affecting financial institutions as well as conspiracy to commit mail fraud and five counts of mail fraud.
Today, Judge Eskridge imposed a 78-month term of imprisonment for the two conspiracies and underlying fraud convictions to be served concurrently. He must also serve three years of supervised release following the sentences. At the hearing, the court heard Ezenwa had been convicted of bank fraud in 2000 and how the his actions have affected the victims in this case. In handing down the prison term, Judge Eskridge noted Ezenwa’s recidivist conduct and complete lack of remorse for his bad acts.
During the trial, Judge Eskridge heard testimony from seven civilian witnesses whom Ezenwa and co-conspirators had victimized. Four financial institution representatives testified to show how their the fraud affected their businesses. They described how Ezenwa’s various bank accounts were constantly flagged for suspicious transactions and how all his accounts were ultimately closed for fraud.
Law enforcement provided further details, describing their investigation and other evidence collected and analyzed, such as a voluminous number of records and data from multiple cellular phone extractions. They also detailed the interviews of dozens of witnesses.
Two co-conspirators and a federal detention center inmate also told the court about their roles in the conspiracy and knowledge of the fraud scheme.
Ezenwa attempted to convince the court he did not know he was engaged in criminal or fraudulent activity. However, Judge Eskridge heard Ezenwa was actually on bond in state court for the wire fraud activity when he engaged in the subsequent mail fraud.
The court found Ezenwa was involved in two fraud schemes that occurred from 2013 to 2014 and from 2018 to 2019.
Ezenwa will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Clark County Sheriff’s Office in Washington. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christine Lu and Sherin Daniel prosecuted the case.