Emmanuel Awa, 51, and Abiatu Umah, 53, both of South Orange, N.J., were sentenced on Wednesday to prison, after pleading guilty to wire fraud and money laundering.
The two men participated in a a scam that used phony identification documents to set up various checking accounts to launder and steal more than $1 million.
The two men pleaded before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini, who also imposed the sentences today in Newark federal court. Umah was sentenced to 48 months in prison, while Awa was sentenced to 38 months in prison.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From February 2009 to August 2010, both men opened business checking accounts and used the accounts to receive funds. The funds were transferred illegally from compromised accounts.
Awa and Umah used the aliases “Emanuel Albert Smith” and “Edwin John Nicholas,” respectively, to open accounts, and each presented a falsified United Kingdom passport. The men frequently used the name of a compromised account as the name of the recipient account, adding terms such as “LLC” or “Corporation” to make it appear as thought the two accounts were related.
Awa and Umah opened more than 14 recipient accounts and received approximately $1 million in proceeds derived from the compromised accounts.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Martini sentenced the defendants to serve three years of supervised release and ordered them to pay $1,016,440 in restitution.