According to the United States Department of Justice, Niselio Barros Garcia Jr., 50, of Kissimmee, Florida, pleaded guilty on January 29, 2024 in the Southern District of Florida to money laundering for his role in funneling the proceeds of scams against American consumers and businesses to co-conspirators located in Nigeria.
Niselio Barros Garcia Jr., 50, of Kissimmee, was indicted by a grand jury on July 12, 2023. According to court documents, Garcia supplied bank accounts to his co-conspirators for the purpose of receiving proceeds from romance scams, business email compromises and other fraud schemes. After receiving the criminal proceeds, Garcia used a cryptocurrency exchange to conceal and transfer the funds in Bitcoin to co-conspirators in Nigeria. Garcia personally laundered over $2.3 million of criminal proceeds and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees.
Business email compromises involve criminals hacking or spoofing business email accounts to initiate fraudulent money transfers. Romance scams involve fraudsters creating fake online personas to gain the trust and affection of victims, leading to financial exploitation. These schemes not only cause significant financial losses, but also deeply impact the lives of victims.
“This prosecution demonstrates our ongoing commitment to protecting the public from complex financial crimes,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This case serves as a reminder of the sophisticated methods employed by criminals and the need for vigilance in the digital age. The Justice Department remains committed to aggressively pursuing individuals and groups involved in these kinds of illicit activities.”
Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced in the Southern District of Florida on April 23. He faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Four additional defendants have been charged in this scheme but remain at large.
(Source: United States Department of Justice)