The founders of Ping Express US LLC, a Texan payments corporation with connections to the United Kingdom, were given a 27-month prison term for allegedly sending $160 million in proceeds of fraud to Nigeria through the business.
Anslem Oshionebo, 45, and 43-year-old Opeyemi Odeyale were sentenced after being found guilty of failing to maintain effective anti-money laundering controls and unlicensed money transmitting, Bloomberg reports.
The money was sent over a period of nearly three years, citing US judicial documents.
Remittances from Dallas-based Ping Express customers were sent to Kenya, Nigeria, and other countries in Africa.
In one three-year period highlighted by the DoJ, the firm failed to flag a single suspicious transaction to regulators despite processing a “significant amount” of them, though it filed a batch of reports later.
One customer used the firm to move funds they made from fake-romance scams, with victims including a woman in Indiana who sent $15,000 to a supposed roughneck oil worker in the Gulf of Mexico, and another who sent $6,300 to a purported Irish sea captain.
Another customer moved more than $80,000 in a single month, far more than the company’s $4,500 limit, court filings show.
Ping Express faces five years of probation and a fine as high as $500,000 after pleading guilty to a similar charge, while another executive received a 42-month sentence, the Department of Justice said.