Rhode Island Man Charged in Email Scam Targeting Massachusetts Lawyer

Allegedly spoofed lawyer's client into wiring $531,981 to associate...

BOSTON - A Rhode Island man was charged today in federal court in Boston in connection with a conspiracy to launder funds derived from Business Email Compromise (BEC) fraud schemes, including one that targeted a Dorchester real estate attorney.    

Sayon Balogun a/k/a “Oshine,” 32, a dual citizen of the United States and Nigeria, was indicted on one count of money laundering conspiracy. Balogun was initially charged by criminal complaint on May 31, 2019, and arrested in Florida on June 10, 2019. He has been detained pending trial. 

According to court documents, in January 2018, Balogun’s co-conspirators gained access to email accounts belonging to a Massachusetts attorney engaged in real estate closings. The co-conspirators then mimicked (spoofed) the real estate attorney’s email account and sent emails to a Massachusetts resident who was the purchaser in a legitimate real estate transaction. The spoofed emails directed the Massachusetts real-estate purchaser to wire transfer $531,981 (which the purchaser believed was for a legitimate real estate transaction) to a bank account held by a California woman. The California women then sent $60,000 to an account in the name of “David Tecum,” a fraudulent identity used by Oghenetchouwe Adegor Ederaine Jr., one of Balogun’s co-conspirators, who received fraud proceeds at Balogun’s direction. Ederaine has pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and money laundering conspiracy charges. 

Balogun faces a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $500,000 or twice the value of the funds laundered in the conspiracy.  Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Office, made the announcement today. The Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI for the Southern District of Florida. Assistant U.S. Attorneys David D’Addio and Amy Harman Burkart of Lelling’s Cybercrime Unit are prosecuting the case.

The details contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.