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Monmouth County Resident Sentenced for Money Laundering in International Fraud Scheme

Monmouth County Resident Sentenced for Money Laundering in International Fraud Scheme

Andrew Suarez Receives Five-Year Prison Term for Role in Black Axe’s Financial Crimes.

In a significant development for law enforcement agencies in their fight against international cybercrime, Andrew Suarez, a 30-year-old resident of Middletown, Monmouth County, New Jersey, has been sentenced to five years in prison for his involvement in money laundering activities linked to the notorious Black Axe group based in South Africa. U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced the sentencing, which U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp handed down in Trenton federal court.

Background and Details of the Case

Suarez had previously admitted to his role in a money laundering conspiracy, a charge stemming from his activities between August and December 2017. Court documents and statements reveal that Suarez collaborated with conspirators to funnel money to various entities in Cape Town, including Abravoo Trading Company, known to be controlled by a founding member of Black Axe’s Cape Town Zone. This organization is infamous for orchestrating extensive internet-based fraud operations.

The mechanism of Suarez’s criminal activities involved establishing bank accounts in the United States. These accounts were used to disguise funds acquired through business email compromises and other fraudulent schemes. He then transferred these illicit proceeds to other U.S. bank accounts and wired them to accounts in Cape Town. To elude detection, Suarez altered the information on some of his bank accounts, fraudulently including the names and addresses of victims. The total loss attributed to Suarez’s criminal conduct is approximately $525,000.

Sentencing and Acknowledgements

In addition to the prison sentence, Suarez is also subject to three years of supervised release following his prison term. U.S. Attorney Sellinger acknowledged the collaborative efforts of the FBI’s Red Bank Office, led by Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy, and the U.S. Secret Service’s Newark Division under Special Agent in Charge Aaron Hatley. Significant assistance was also provided by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, headed by Prosecutor Raymond S. Santiago.

The prosecution was managed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard G. Shephard of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Division in Trenton. This case highlights the ongoing challenges of international cybercrime and the critical role of inter-agency cooperation in combating these complex criminal networks.

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