Delaware BEC case calls him leader of international criminal organization


The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Delaware has accused Olugbenga Lawal of being a major money launderer for a Nigeria-based international criminal organization specializing in business email compromise (#BEC) and romance scams. Lawal was accused of receiving over US$3 million (which would be over ₦2.8 billion!) and sending funds to Nigeria both through money transfers and having purchased and shipped over $600,000 worth of vehicles.

Olugbenga Lawal was born on November 30, 1990 in Lagos, Nigeria. After attending boarding school at the age of 13, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Nigeria. He taught for a year at the National Youth Core in 2013. In 2015, he stayed with an uncle in New York for three months, then moved to Chicago where he married Myjerrier Lawal and the two moved to Indiana, where he lived when he was arrested.

Early in the case, Lawal’s attorney tried to get the judge to allow him to be released pending bail. At that time, a court hearing was held to determine whether he should remain in jail until trial, or whether he could be released and monitored. This type of hearing is called a detention hearing. During this hearing, some interesting facts emerged!

Excerpt from the transcript of the detention hearing:

The accused’s importance within the criminal organization is demonstrated by the fact that he received money directly from the defrauded victims as well as lower-ranking members of the criminal organization. It appears that as a high-ranking member of the organization, the defendant received a “share” of the fraudulently obtained proceeds and, after accepting this “share”, helped launder the proceeds and repatriate the funds into West Africa largely by purchasing funds. cars with the fraudulent products and ship them overseas to other members of the criminal organization.

The criminal organization apparently obtained and used fraudulent identity and travel documents to facilitate its internet fraud and money laundering efforts. The government claims the organization obtained fake driver’s licenses and passports, both to create the online personas used to perpetrate its romance scams and to register fictitious business entities and open bank accounts under untraceable aliases .

In short, the nature of the criminal organization and its crimes provided the defendant with the resources necessary to evade prosecution. The defendant, personally or through his co-conspirators, has access to millions of dollars, fraudulent travel documents, and co-conspirators located across the country and around the world. Additionally, the defendant, who is not a U.S. citizen, appears to face substantial prison time and likely deportation. The combination of the long sentence weighing on the accused and his probable expulsion strongly encourages him to flee prosecution.

The defendant has made at least four trips abroad over the past two years. These trips appear to include two extended trips to Nigeria, as well as two short trips to Cancun, Mexico. As already noted, the defendant has access to an unidentified amount of money that he could use to evade prosecution, including up to $2 million in cash withdrawals that remain largely unexplained as well as to potential money from co-conspirators seeking to help him. .

The government’s main witness in this case was a man named Mr. Hermann. Normally, we never have access to the evidence the government has against a criminal, because they often plead “guilty”, so there is no trial where such information would become public. Because Mr. Lawal refused to enter a plea, he went to a jury trial where things did not go well for him. Since everything is recorded in the file, let’s start by hearing the opening statements of the Government Prosecutor:

Mr. Hermann was following the orders of one of the leaders of the criminal organization in Nigeria, a man named Ehonre Oluwaseun, more commonly known as Classic Baggie. You will hear evidence that Classic Baggie recruited Michael Hermann to open bank accounts to launder the fraudulent money. Hermann in turn recruited Assane and Baines to open even more accounts. Hermann passed information to Classic Baggie and Classic Baggie ensured that the scammers who were in contact with the victims had the correct bank account information. The scammers then asked their victims to send money to these bank accounts, and Classic Baggie instructed Michael Hermann on what to do with the fraudulent money deposited into accounts controlled by Hermann, Assane and Baines.

You will hear Mr. Hermann and Ms. Assane during this trial say that most often the instructions that came to them were to send the money to the defendant, Mr. Lawal. And you won’t have to take their word for it, because you’ll see text messages between Mr. Hermann and Ms. Assane that show funds being directed to the accused over and over again. Some parts of these messages are in English while others are translated from a French dialect. But you will see chat after chat with instructions to send money to Lawal.

You will see bank statements showing more than three and a half million dollars flowing through personal and business bank accounts controlled by the defendant, Mr. Lawal, during the years he reported minimal income to the IRS.

Evidence will show that Mr. Lawal and his co-conspirators used some of the fraudulent money to purchase cars at auction that were shipped overseas to Nigeria, where Classic Baggie lived. You will also hear from a witness named Opeyemi Opaleye, who received proceeds of fraud from Mr Lawal and used the money to purchase vehicles for his own car export business. Mr. Opaleye will testify that Mr. Lawal directed dollar deposits into Mr. Opaleye’s personal and business accounts in exchange for depositing an equivalent amount of Nigerian currency into Mr. Lawal’s Nigerian bank account. You will see conversations between Mr. Opaleye and the accused, Mr. Lawal, during which the two discuss exchanging the Nigerian currency or Naira for US dollars. And during one of those conversations, the accused, Mr. Lawal, sent Mr. Opaleye a photo of a bank receipt on someone’s lap. Well, you’ll hear the testimony of the person who took this photo of the receipt on their own lap. He is the victim of love fraud. He will testify that he took the photo to show that he made the payment. And you will learn that shortly after, the defendant, Mr. Lawal, sent the same photo to Mr. Opaleye.

We are not asking you to accept the testimony of these witnesses without any careful consideration, indeed we invite you to carefully consider the testimony of each witness, to listen carefully to their testimony, to consider the promptings of each witness and to see how the The testimony of each witness is corroborated by the testimony of the others. witnesses and documentary evidence. Not only will you hear testimony from these individuals, but in some cases, you will see their text communications. You will learn that many of these communications Mr. Hermann relays instructions directly from his boss, Classic Baggie, the head of the organization, to send the proceeds of the scam to the defendant, Mr. Lawal.

A classic bag? What kind of name is that? Well, in 2007, Classic Baggie was very famous for being friends with two other famous Nigerian money launderers named Hushpuppi and Mompha. (My readers will know how closely I followed the cases of Hushpuppi! and Mompha.


For a summary of their quarrels, I refer you to Linda Ekeji’s blog.

(Click to read »Hushpuppi criticizes his former friend“)

Classic Baggie’s reputation, probably due to paid fluff coins, is much more favorable to Nigeria than how the Delaware court portrays it!

(Click to read »ENTER THE WORLD OF EHONRE OLUWASEUN” from SaharaWeeklyNG)

(Click to read »Philanthropist Ehonre Oluwaseun” by Linda Ikeji)

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