Jury Finds Husband and Wife Guilty of Participating in International Fraud Ring | USAO-WDTN
Memphis, TN- Caesar Oruade, 38, and Ayana Saunders, 36, of Hawthorne, California, have been convicted of wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to launder money. Joseph C. Murphy, Jr., United States Attorney, announced the conviction today.
According to information presented in court, in May 2017, a computer intrusion at a real estate company resulted in a Memphis woman’s $76,000 payment on a home purchase being diverted to the bank account of California resident Jeffrey Cranford. Agents investigating the case followed the money and found that the $76,000 had been “chopped” and sent to several other U.S. bank account holders before ultimately being wired to an account in Nigeria. Many others across the United States and in Canada had been similarly victimized in their attempts to purchase real estate. The proceeds of romance fraud were flowing through the same accounts as well.
Bank accounts belonging to defendant Ayana Saunders generally served as the last domestic stop for funds before leaving the United States; they then landed in the Nigerian account of Caesar Oruade. Saunders and Oruade, now married, claimed the money came from “investors” who were funding the making of Nigerian films through their production company. Both were convicted of wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to launder money.
Victims from around the United States and Canada testified that they had been directed by either an online real estate lender or an online love interest or friend to wire…
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