Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Massachusetts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Milton Man Agrees to Plead Guilty to Money Laundering
Owner of Fall River used car dealership laundered fraud proceeds through his business
BOSTON – The owner of a used car dealership in Fall River has been charged and has agreed to plead guilty to money laundering.
Augustine Osemwegie, 54, of Milton, was charged and has agreed to plead guilty to one count of money laundering. A plea hearing has not yet been scheduled by the Court.
According to court documents, 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 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’s Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit is prosecuting the case.
The details contained in the charging document are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.