Air Peace CEO Allen Onyema : Indicted, charged in US for bank fraud, money laundering - TobiVibes


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Air Peace CEO Allen Onyema : Indicted, charged in US for bank fraud, money laundering

The U.S Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Georgia on Friday accused Air Peace Chief, Allen Onyema of money laundering, bank fraud and financial scams, according to a statement released.

The statement also indicated that Onyema, along with his airline’s Chief of administration and finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha has been charged to court, implying that they may have been arrested in the US.

“Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema, 56, of Lagos, Nigeria, and Ejiroghene Eghagha, 37, of Lagos, Nigeria, were indicted on November 19, 2019, on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit credit application fraud, and three counts of credit application fraud. Additionally, Onyema was charged with 27 counts of money laundering, and Eghagha was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft”, the statement said.

Onyema and Eghagha were accused of moving more than $20million from Nigeria through US banks in a scheme ‘involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes”.

The two Air Peace chiefs were investigated by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Commerce, and Department of Treasury.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Garrett L. Bradford, Deputy Chief of the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section and Lead Strike Force Attorney, Irina K. Dutcher, and Christopher J. Huber, Deputy Chief of the Complex Frauds Section, are prosecuting the case, with assistance from the Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Office of International Affairs.

Here is the full indictment as released Friday in Atlanta:

Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema, the Chairman, CEO, and founder of Air Peace, a Nigerian airline, has been charged with bank fraud and money laundering for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes.

The international airline’s Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, has also been charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.

“Onyema allegedly leveraged his status as a prominent business leader and airline executive while using falsified documents to commit fraud,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

“We will diligently protect the integrity our banking system from being corrupted by criminals, even when they disguise themselves in a cloak of international business.”

Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division commented on the indictment, “Allen Onyema’s status as a wealthy businessman turned out to be a fraud. He corrupted the U.S. banking system, but his trail of deceit and trickery came to a skidding halt. DEA would like to thank the many law enforcement partners and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office who aided in making this investigation a success.”

“This case is a prime example of why IRS-CI seeks to partner and leverage its expertise in an effort to thwart those seeking to exploit our nation’s financial system,” said Thomas J. Holloman, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Office. “With the importance of our banking system to the movement of money around the world, those attempting to use intricate schemes to commit bank fraud through the use of falsified documents and other means should know that the odds are now heavily stacked against them as law enforcement is combining its talents to protect the sanctity and integrity of the nation’s financial system.”

“Onyema setup various innocent sounding multi-million dollar asset purchases which were nothing more than alleged fronts for his scam,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama. “I’m proud to be part of a team of law enforcement agencies that come together to identify and attack criminals that attempt to profit from the exploitation of our nation’s financial systems.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court: Onyema, a Nigerian citizen and businessman, is the founder and Chairman of several organizations that purport to promote peace across Nigeria, including the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, and All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited.

Beginning in 2010, Onyema began travelling frequently to Atlanta, where he opened several personal and business bank accounts. Between 2010 and 2018, over $44.9 million was allegedly transferred into his Atlanta-based accounts from foreign sources.

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