Fort Lauderdale, USA (October 17, 2019) – Elvin I. Lewis, Jr. has been convicted by a South Florida Jury. Lewis laundered more than US$3 million in fraud proceeds obtained from international cyber scams using Business Email Compromise (BEC) schemes between November 2017 and August 2018. According to court documents, he was involved in defrauding the City of Ottawa in 2018. His co-conspirators are believed to be located abroad. He was charged with 11 counts of money laundering charges. Lewis is scheduled to be sentenced on January 10, 2020.
After a five-day jury trial, Elvin I. Lewis, Jr. from Hollywood, Florida has been convicted of 11 counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. The trial began on October 2 before the U.S. District Court Judge Roy K. Altman and a South Florida jury. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida stated on October 11 that the 52-year-old man had laundered more than US$3 million in fraud proceeds from international cyber scams using BEC schemes.
Lewis laundered proceeds of fraud from November 2017 to August 2018. He set up more than eight bank accounts at different financial institutions using his ‘real estate investment business’, called A NuFinancial Consortium LLC. For his criminal service, he received five to ten percent of the laundered funds. In total, Lewis gained more than US$160,000. Among others, he purchased a Porsche, which was seized during his criminal case.
The BEC scammers are believed to be located abroad
Lewis’s co-conspirators who conducted the BEC scams are believed to be located abroad. They contacted businesses using Internet-based communication and posed as vendors seeking payment for services. Most of the schemes were very sophisticated and needed knowledge and preparation. They used spoofed emails as well as email account takeover techniques and investigated the key financial players of a business for a while. When an opportunity arose, they contacted the business victim using the researched or spoofed high-profile business actor’s online identity. Taking advantage of their business authority, they directed the person who was responsible for financial issues to make payments to various bank accounts, they were controlling. This is where Lewis came into the picture, he was in charge of the receiving accounts and wired the fraud proceeds from the BEC scams into other accounts, concealing the money’s source.
City of Ottawa among the victims
The City of Ottawa was among the various businesses that were victimized by the BEC scammers in connection with Lewis’ laundering services. In July 2018, the treasurer of the City of Ottawa was directed to send $128,603 to a U.S. bank account in an email that she thought came from the city manager.
Lewis is claiming he was innocent, telling CBC that he had no idea that he was engaging in criminal behavior and that he was taken advantage of as a ‘money mule’. His sentencing is scheduled for January 10, 2020. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of twenty years in prison as to each of the eleven counts of conviction. He also faces up to three years of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
Marina Burghard writes for Canadian Fraud News about fraud-related cases, whistleblower, jurisdiction, identity theft, consumer protection, etc. – essentially about scams and how to protect yourself against this kind of fraudulent criminal behavior. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science where her interest in criminology grew. Besides fraud, Marina’s scientific interest lies in terrorism, extremism and how to deal with it as a society.