A Mississauga man was sentenced to 140 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $30 million in restitution to victims after he was found guilty of laundering millions of dollars in a U.S. court.
The 36-year-old — who is a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S. — was convicted of money laundering in various wire and bank fraud schemes, including a massive online banking theft by North Korean cyber criminals.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering in two cases, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a media release from the Central District of California.
One of those cases — notably the one involving North Korean cyber criminals — was filed in Los Angeles. The other was filed in Georgia, where he was tried.
Court documents showed the man had many co-conspirators. Working with them, he used schemes that compromised business email addresses, ATM cash-outs, and bank cyber-heists to steal money from victims. After the theft, he laundered the money through various bank accounts and digital currencies.
Money stolen through cyber thefts
In the Los Angeles case, he was found to have recruited and organized individuals to withdraw stolen money from ATMs after obtaining it through cyber-heists and fraud schemes. The stolen money would be deposited in bank accounts he controlled before they were laundered through wire transfers, ATM cash withdrawals, and exchanging funds for cryptocurrency.
The source of that stolen money included a 2019 cyber-heist of a Maltese bank and a 2018 ATM cash-out theft (where money is withdrawn from an ATM using a cloned debit card) from BankIslami in Pakistan. Other victims include a bank in India, some American and British companies, some American citizens, and a professional soccer club in the U.K.
In the second case filed in Georgia, the man worked with others to send fraudulent emails to a Canadian university in 2017. The emails were made to appear as if they were from a construction company requesting payment for a major building project. The university, believing it was paying the construction company, wired $11.8 million Canadian to a bank account controlled by the man.
Those funds were then laundered through various financial institutions in the U.S. before he arranged for a co-conspirator to make trips to Texas to impersonate wealthy bank customers in a scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims' bank accounts using stolen personal information.