A United States District Court in Hattiesburg, Mississippi State has found two collegiate Nigerian athletes guilty of transferring thousands of dollars to Nigeria as part of a complex fraud scheme.
In a judgement delivered on November 10 in the Southern District of Mississippi, the two collegiate athletes, Emmanuel Ineh, 23, and Toluwani Adebakin, 25, were convicted before U.S. District Judge Kristi Johnson for transferring thousands of dollars to Nigeria as part of a complex fraud scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Jackson Field Office.
In a statement on the website of the US Department of Justice website, the athletes face up to a 10-year jail term expected to start in February 2023 after they all pleaded guilty to the charge.
“According to court documents, all the six individuals pleaded guilty to violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957, for engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activities, collectively sending tens of thousands of illicitly obtained proceeds to fraudsters in Nigeria as part of a larger mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy,” the statement read.
“The scheme involved Track and Field athletes from multiple higher learning institutions in the United States, with part of the conspiracy being operated out of Hattiesburg while the Ineh and Adebakin were Track and Field teammates at William Carey University. William Carey University was cooperative throughout the investigation.
“The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on February 15, 2023 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Adebakin earned a double master’s degree at the University of South Florida, with Masters in Business Administration and Masters of Science in Sports & Entertainment. He had earlier earned a Bachelors degree in Business Administration at William Carey University.
Ineh, who specialises in the long jump and triple jump won gold medal in the triple jump at the Africa Youth Games in Algiers in 2018 after earlier winning silver medal in the long jump event of the same competition some days earlier.