MARIETTA, GA — A Marietta man will spend the next 13 years in prison after being found guilty of scamming a woman out of more than $5 million and two businesses out of over $1 million.
Nnamdi Marcellus MgBodile, 37, of Marietta, was charged by a federal grand jury in November 2019 with 20 counts of bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. He was found guilty in May 2021 and sentenced in November, according to a Nov. 19 news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to prosecutors, MgBodile opened and directed others to open fraudulent bank accounts in Georgia, New York and California for sham companies that did not have physical premises, earn legitimate income or pay wages to employees. MgBodile recruited at least five other people to open the fake accounts, including a former bank employee “who he bribed to continue to open accounts even after others have been closed for fraud,” the release said.
MgBodile used the fake accounts to launder the money from various schemes, including a romance scam that defrauded a Virginia woman out of more than $5 million, and business email compromise (BEC) scams in which MgBodile and others attempted to defraud a Georgia company of nearly $350,000 and an Alabama company of more than $800,000.
“MgBodile and his co-conspirators are representative of the transnational fraudsters who have had had a devastating impact on U.S. residents and businesses,” U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said. “The groups perpetrating these romance scams and business email compromise frauds target their victims indiscriminately and have caused billions of dollars of losses for victims in recent years.”
Evidence at trial showed that in November 2017, a Virginia woman, whose signatory authority over a sizable trust that had been established for her children, met a person she believed to be named James Deere through an online dating service.
The woman was convinced she was in a romantic relationship with “Deere.” Over the course of a month, he said he had fallen for her and wanted to start a life with her — but first had to resolve an “investment opportunity,” which turned out to be fake, prosecutors said.
“Deere” told the victim he was a fund manager and was on the verge of receiving a sizable commission. He said he needed the woman to be his “representative partner” and have the funds deposited into the victim’s bank account to avoid an alleged conflict of interest.
In January and February 2018, after luring the victim, “Deere” and conspirators started requesting via email that she pay various fees and taxes so that the funds could be released. Between approximately Jan. 2, 2018 and Feb. 12, 2018, the victim made approximately 25 wire transfers totaling more than $5 million from the trust account into various bank accounts, of which $1.35 million was wired to accounts controlled by MgBodile, according to the release.
After the fraudulent funds hit the accounts controlled by MgBodile, they were then wired to other accounts controlled by MgBodile or overseas accounts in China and the Middle East.
In the BEC scams, MgBodile and others attempted to defraud the Georgia company in March 2019 after it received emails from what it believed was Oxford Finance, a real company that had provided financing to the victim company in the past. The emails claimed that the victim company needed to wire Oxford Finance a quarterly payment rather than be drawn via an automated clearing house (ACH).
The spoof emails were sent from oxfordfiinance.com, which appeared to be the correct website for Oxford Finance, but it was not. The fake email added an extra I in the website. The emails also appeared to come from Oxford Finance because the purported sender is an actual employee of Oxford Finance and the email’s signature line contained Oxford Finance’s correct physical address.
“As evidenced by the length of the prison sentence in this case, fraud is a heinous crime that can destroy people’s lives,” U.S. Secret Service Special Agent In Charge Steven R. Baisel said. “We will continue to aggressively investigate and bring to justice those who prey on the vulnerable.”