Fall River Car Dealer Sentenced to Home Confinement for Money Laundering
FALL RIVER — The owner of a used car dealership in Fall River has been sentenced to six months of home confinement and two years of probation for laundering money for romance scammers and other fraudsters.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said 53-year-old Milton resident Augustine Osemwegie was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to one count of money laundering in April.
Osemwegie is the owner of Ejad Auto Sales at 200 Brightman St. in Fall River.
He was also ordered to pay a $5,500 fine and forfeiture, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said Osemwegie used his car dealership, vehicle auctions and international car shipping business to launder and send the proceeds from a variety of fraud schemes.
These included romance scams and pandemic unemployment fraud, among others.
Osemwegie admitted in April to accepting fraud proceeds in cash from “customers,” taking a percentage fee for laundering the funds, and then using the rest to buy used vehicles at car auctions.
The vehicles were then shipped abroad, mostly to Nigeria, where they were sold for Osemwegie's purported customers, according to the office.
He was caught in September 2020 by an undercover agent posing as a customer.
Recorded calls and meetings between the agent and Osemwegie showed that the car dealer agreed to accept fraud proceeds and transfer them abroad by purchasing a used luxury sedan.
Osemwegie also applied for and received a $9,375 Paycheck Protection Program loan for COVID-19 relief, according to a federal database.