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United States of America v. Florence Mwende Musau
Case Number: 1:21-cr-10190
Judge: Allison D. Burroughs
Court: United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (Suffolk County)
Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office in Boston
Description: Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer represented Defendant charged with a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud involving romance scams and pandemic unemployment fraud.
Florence Mwende Musau, age 38, participated in a conspiracy involving romance scams and other online frauds designed to deceive victims into sending money to bank accounts controlled by her and others. Criminals perpetrating romance scams create fictitious profiles on online dating or social media websites, gain the trust of potential victims and then direct those victims to transfer money under false pretenses.
To further the conspiracy, Musau used fake passports in the names of numerous aliases to open bank accounts in and around Boston to receive the proceeds of the romance scams. Musau then executed large cash withdrawals from those accounts, generally structured in amounts less than $10,000, in an effort to evade detection and currency transaction reporting requirements. Musau also received the proceeds of fraudulent state pandemic unemployment assistance benefits in the names of victims. As part of the scheme, Musau used at least three different aliases to open nearly ten fraudulent bank accounts and receive approximately $1 million in fraud proceeds.
United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England made the announcement today. Special assistance was provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ian J. Stearns of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.
Outcome: Defendant was sentenced to 44 months in prison and 30 months of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay $957,000 in restitution and was ordered to forfeit approximately $350,000 and a Lexus SUV.