May 6, 2024

Two North Carolina men receive prison time for participating in elaborate money laundering scheme

On May 1, 2024, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina announced that two defendants – Joseph Kingsley Irona and Mamady Fadima Conde – will go to prison for their roles in an elaborate money laundering scheme involving efforts to defraud the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) and Small Business Administration (“SBA”), including identity theft.  According to federal prosecutors, one scheme involved the use of stolen personal identifying information to submit fraudulent applications for Social Security retirement benefits in victims’ names.  Another scheme involved the use of stolen identities to file applications with the SBA to obtain COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EIDL loans”).  According to the USAO, Irona and Conde laundered more than $1 million in criminal proceeds through a money laundering network in order to conceal the source and destination of the funds.  In furtherance of the scheme, Irona allegedly oversaw the flow of these illicit funds through multiple co-conspirators’ accounts in the United States, and facilitated money transfers to co-conspirators in Nigeria.

Irona and Conde pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in 2023.  Irona was sentenced to 84 months in prison and three years of supervised release, while Conde received 60 months in prison and five years of supervised release.  They were also ordered to pay restitution to the SSA and SBA for their roles in the scheme.  In February 2024, Chinedu Frances Okwuosha, a third defendant in the case, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release.

USAO EDNC Press Release | Unsealed Indictment