(NewsNation) — A Florida man pleaded guilty to money laundering in connection to his role in Nigerian romance scams, business email compromises and other fraud schemes, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.
Niselio Barros Garcia Jr., 50, of Kissimmee, Florida, is accused of supplying bank documents to co-conspirators in order to receive the profits of the scams. After receiving the money, Garcia allegedly used a cryptocurrency exchange to conceal and transfer the funds to co-conspirators in Nigeria in Bitcoin, according to court documents.
The DOJ says Garcia is personally responsible for laundering over $2.3 million in criminal profits and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars to do the job.
Four additional defendants have been charged in the scheme but they remain at large, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Romance scams involve fraudsters using fake online personas to gain the trust and affection of victims before financially exploiting them. Business email compromises involve criminals either hacking business email accounts or sending spoof messages to defraud the company or its employees.
“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 for sentencing on April 23 in the Southern District of Florida. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.