BOSTON, Mass. (U.S. DOJ) – A Medfield man pleaded guilty Wednesday in connection with an international business email compromise (BEC) scheme that defrauded companies of more than $850,000 and a romance fraud scheme that defrauded victims of at least $7,000.
Paul M. Iwuanyanwu, 41, pleaded guilty to wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and unlawful monetary transactions. U.S. District Court Judge Denise J. Casper scheduled sentencing for Feb. 17, 2022. Iwuanyanwu was charged in a superseding indictment in July 2020.
With respect to the BEC scheme, Iwuanyanwu participated in a plan to breach the email systems of companies and install unauthorized computer programs that diverted company emails to accounts controlled by Iwuanyanwu and his co-conspirators. As a result, all emails sent by or to the companies were first routed through the conspiracy’s email accounts, where co-conspirators could view and respond to the messages as if they were representatives of the companies. Iwuanyanwu, and others, used this unauthorized access to cause the companies to redirect more than $850,000 in payments intended for legitimate business operations to bank accounts controlled by Iwuanyanwu and others.
With respect to romance fraud, Iwuanyanwu participated in a scheme to use fraudulent online relationships to deceive victims and persuade them to send money to Iwuanyanwu and others, or to receive money on Iwuanyanwu and other’s behalf. Victims wired at least $6,000 to accounts controlled by Iwuanyanwu and others and sent at least $1,000 via money orders to Iwuanyanwu.
The charge of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss. The charge of mail fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of unlawful monetary transactions provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross gain or loss. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of the Homeland Security Investigations in Boston made the announcement Thursday. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara Miron Bloom and Benjamin Alfredo Saltzman of Mendell’s Criminal Division are prosecuting the case.