COURT DOC: Six Defendants Arrested In Multiple States For Laundering Proceeds From Fraud Schemes Targeting Victims Across The United States Perpetrated By Ghana-Based Criminal Enterprise
The Department of Justice announced the arrests of FAROUK APPIEDU, FRED ASANTE, CELVIN FREEMAN, LORD ANING, SADICK EDUSEI KISSI, and FAISAL ALI, a/k/a ‘Clarence Graveley,’ for charges in connection with their roles in a fraud and money laundering conspiracy based in the Republic of Ghana (‘Ghana’) involving the theft of tens of millions of dollars.
From at least in or about 2013 through at least in or about 2020, the defendants were members of a criminal enterprise (the ‘Enterprise’) based in Ghana that committed a series of business email compromises and romance scams against individuals and businesses located across the United States, including in the Southern District of New York. The frauds perpetrated by the Enterprise have consisted of, among other frauds, business email compromises, romance scams, and fraud schemes related to the novel coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.
Collectively, from in or about 2013 through at least in or about 2020, APPIEDU, ASANTE, FREEMAN, and ANING controlled more than 45 bank accounts that had deposits that totaled over approximately $55 million during that time period. A vast majority of the deposits consisted of large wire transfers and check or cash deposits from various U.S.-based individuals and entities that were victims of fraud schemes of the Enterprise, or payments for vehicles, food products, and other goods sold by the defendants that were purchased using fraud proceeds. As part of the investigation of APPIEDU, the Government has seized and is seeking the forfeiture of four luxury cars purchased, at least in part, with fraud proceeds, including two 2019 Rolls Royce Cullinans, a 2020 Bentley Continental GT, and one 2020 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)