Milton Man Pleads Guilty to Money Laundering

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BOSTON – The owner of a used car dealership in Fall River pleaded guilty yesterday to money laundering.

Augustine Osemwegie, 54, of Milton, pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Rya W. Zobel scheduled sentencing for Aug. 3, 2022.

Osemwegie used his car dealership, vehicle auctions and international car shipping to launder and transmit the proceeds of romance scams, pandemic unemployment fraud and other fraudulent schemes. Specifically, Osemwegie accepted fraud proceeds in cash from “customers,” took a percentage fee for laundering the funds and then used the remaining funds to purchase used vehicles at auto auctions, purportedly for the use of his customers. Osemwegie then shipped those vehicles abroad, principally to Nigeria, where they were sold for the benefit of Osemwegie’s customers.

In September 2020, during recorded calls and meetings with an undercover agent, Osemwegie agreed to accept fraud proceeds from the undercover agent and transfer them abroad, under the guise of purchasing a used luxury sedan. 

The charge of money laundering provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian Stearns of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.