A Marietta man has been arraigned on 20 counts of bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit bank fraud in relation to a romance scheme that authorities say illegally netted him over $6.5 million from a Virginia woman.
According to an indictment, Nnamdi Marcellus MgBodile, 35, met the woman online in November of 2017. The woman, who had a sizable trust, was soon convinced that she was in a romantic relationship with the defendant who she had come to know as “Jimmy Deere.”
Over the next month, the victim communicated via email with "Deere," whom she believed had fallen for her. "Deere" said he wanted to start a life with her and was excited to live with her, but first had to resolve an investment opportunity — an opportunity that was totally fraudulent and fictitious, according to United States Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak of the Northern District of Georgia.
“Online romance scams and business email compromise frauds have increasingly become the method of choice for transnational fraudsters targeting U.S. residents and companies,” Pak said. “In this case, a single victim allegedly lost millions. This is a stark reminder that users of online dating websites should be aware of such scams and exercise extreme caution if asked for money by anyone online or over the phone.”
According to Pak, “Deere” told the victim he was a fund manager on the verge of receiving a sizeable commission. He told the victim he needed her 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, “Deere” and other conspirators started requesting via email that she pay various nonexistent fees and taxes so the funds could be released.
Between January and February of 2018, the victim made approximately 25 wire transfers totaling more than $6.5 million from her trust account into various bank accounts.
At least $1.1 million was wired to business bank accounts controlled by MgBodile, and these bank accounts were for fake companies that did not have physical premises, earn legitimate income or pay wages to employees, Pak said.
After the fraudulent funds hit the accounts controlled by MgBodile, he allegedly wired the funds to other accounts controlled by MgBodile, or overseas accounts in China and the Middle East.
MgBodile is also accused of cheating a Georgia company out of nearly $350,000 in a scheme known as a business email compromise fraud.
Pak said these scams typically involve an employee of a company who has been fooled into responding with email messages that appear to be legitimate but are not.
Here, the indictment alleges that in March 2019, MgBodile and others sent out emails posing as Oxford Finance, a company that had provided financing to the victim company. The emails stated that the victim needed to wire Oxford Finance a payment, but none of the emails were actually sent by Oxford Finance.
Rather, these “spoof emails” were sent from a domain, “oxfordfiinance.com” — note the two 'i's' in finance — which appeared to be Oxford Finance’s, but was not.
A federal grand jury indicted MgBodile on Nov. 6, and he was arraigned on Nov. 19 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Janet F. King.
An indictment only contains charges, and suspects are presumed innocent of the charges unless they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is part of the Department Of Justice Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force. The Strike Force focuses on investigating and prosecuting defendants associated with foreign-based fraud schemes that disproportionately affect American seniors, including romance scams, phone scams, mass-mailing fraud schemes and tech-support fraud schemes. For further information on these scams, visit https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice/senior-scam-alert.