- The Daily Mail
Kenyan woman Florence Mwende was slapped with a Ksh119 million fine by an American Court for conning unsuspecting victims thousands of dollars under the pretext of love.
In a statement from the US Department of Justice (DoJ) dated Tuesday, January 31, Massachusetts judge Allison Burroughs asked her to pay the money in restitution and sentenced her to 44 months in prison.
Burroughs slapped her with an additional 30 months of supervised release and ordered her to surrender money in her account as well as her car.A file image of the Boston Federal Court in Massachusetts.Boston Globe
"Musau was also ordered to pay approximately Ksh119 million (USD957,000) in restitution and forfeit approximately Ksh43.5 million (USD350,000) and a Lexus sports SUV," the statement read in part.
Mwende had been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. She is said to have lured victims with love and asked them to send her money to multiple accounts.
According to investigators, she used fake passports to open the accounts which she ran under several aliases. She then hatched a plan to avoid detection when withdrawing the money.
"Musau executed large cash withdrawals from those accounts, generally structured in amounts less than USD10,000, (Ksh1.2 million) in an effort to evade detection and currency transaction reporting requirements," DoJ wrote
The Kenyan, who was working alongside accomplices, further targeted Americans who received money from the US Government during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Court documents indicated that the victims sent her the money meant to cushion them from unemployment which rocked the country amid mass layoffs.
During court proceedings, the prosecution noted that she played a minimal role and was acting on the instructions of her boyfriend, Mark Okuo.
In March 2022, Okuo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. His sentence hearing was scheduled for March 29.
A graduate of the Technical University of Kenya (TUK), Musau travelled to the US in 2018 on a tourist visa. She then acquired a work permit visa.The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) arrest a suspect in the USFilearrest suspect
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