The United States of America has made shocking allegations against has Allen Onyema, chief executive officer of Air Peace aorline.
The US authorities accused Onyema, alongside Ejiroghene Eghagha, the airline’s chief of administration and finance, of money laundering and bank fraud.
The US has charged Onyema 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.
He is said to have laundered the funds through Nigerian accounts to foreign accounts domiciled in the US and Canada using “false documents” based on the purchase of airplanes.
Allegations against the Air Peace CEO are contained in 36-page indictment document, take a look at some of the main points.
1. Onyema has been accused of opening nine bank accounts in the US and Canada in 8 years. It says he initiated wire transfers to the tune of $44.9 million between 2010 and 2018 from Nigerian banks to about nine foreign accounts opened with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Bank of Montreal in Canada.
2. He is accused of founding a ghost company, Springfield Aviation Company in Atlanta, Georgia in April 2016 “that purported to specialise in the wholesaling, trading, and sale of commercial aircraft and parts.
It said, “ONYEMA founded and used Springfield Aviation Company, LEC to facilitate large transfers of funds from his Nigerian bank accounts to the United States. ”
“Beginning on a date unknown, but at least as of in or about May 2016 and continuing through at least in or about February 2018, ONYEMA, EGHAGHA, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, applied for export letters of credit to cause the transfer of funds from a Nigerian bank account for Air Peace to Springfield Aviation bank accounts controlled by ONIEMA, purportedly to fund the purchase of aircraft by Aft Peace from Springfield Aviation.”
It, however, added that “the aircraft that was referenced in each of the export letters of credit was never owned or sold by Springfield Aviation”.
3. The Airpeace CEO allegedly tendered fake documents and recruited one E.M to act as manager of Springfield aviation and to enter into contracts on its behalf.
It said however that E.M. has no “has no connection to the aviation business outside of her role with Springfield Aviation and has no education, training, or licensing in the review and valuation of aircraft, including aircraft components”
E.M was said to have been directed to present false documents to Wells Fargo Bank or JPMorgan Chase Bank NA to effect disbursement of funds to Springfield Aviation’s account.
“In support of the letters of credit and to cause the disbursement of funds from either Wells Fargo Bank or JPMorgan Chase Bank NA into Springfield Aviation’s account, ONYEMA, EGHAGHA, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, with intent to defraud, submitted false documents to Wells Fargo, including fabricated purchase agreements, bills of sale, and valuation documents,” the indictment read.
“EGHAGHA sent false documents to E.M. and directed E.M.to sign the documents on behalf of Springfield Aviation. EGHAGHA instructed E.M. to present false documents to the respective banks in support of each letter of credit.
“In support of the letter of credit and to cause the disbursement of funds from Wells Fargo into Springfield Aviation’s account, ONYEMA, EGHAGHA, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, presented false documents to Wells Fargo.
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4. He allegedly used parts of the money he laundered to pay for personal expenses and purchase “luxury” cars.
“ONYEMA used the funds in his BOA 8086 account to pay for personal living expenses, among other purchases. For example, Onyema purchased an armoured Lexus LX570 ($204,000.00), using, in part, funds from BOA 8086.
“In March 2016, ONYEMA also used WF 8020 to purchase luxury cars, including a Rolls Royce for $180,000 and a Mercedes for $88,500, among others.
“ONYEMA used WF 8621 to pay for personal expenses, among other things. For example, the account was used to make purchases at Atlanta locations of Publix, Macy’s, DSW, the Ritz-Carlton, and various restaurants.”
The document states clearly that if the Airpeace CEO and rhe airline’s chief of administration and finance are convicted of one or more of the charges against them, they would forfeit to the US “a sum of money in United States currency, representing the number of proceeds obtained as a result of the offences alleged in Indictment”.