Keeping Up With Kenny -- Not the Kardashians

October 12, 2022

I get angry when I see the Department of Justice or the Securities and Exchange Commission take ill-deserved victory laps because what gets prosecuted and who comes under the crosshairs is too often determined by whether the ensuing press releases will go viral. Prosecutors and regulators waste time and money and staff on nonsense. On half-assed studies. On useless advisory committees. On ever-dubious initiatives. On the likes of Kim Kardashian. Sadly, the amount of press often determines the amount of justice. Which brings up Kim Kardashian, yet again. Which never quite brings up the likes of Kenny Osas Okuonghae. Kenny who? 

The Criminal Complaint

Yeah, I know, conspiracy to commit money laundering -- ho hum.  

C'mon, Bill, give us something juicy.

Okay, now sit down. Ya gotta hear this one.

By way of upfront housekeeping and to be fair, please keep in mind that at this stage, DOJ's case is merely about allegationsDefendant Okuonghae is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

FBI Special Agent Andrew Hodge alleges in the Criminal Complaint that Defendant Okuonghae accumulated at least 14 bank accounts at nine different banks in his own name or that of Kenny Global Enterprises LLC. Although the criminal investigation is still active, the Department of Justice thinks that since 2019, Okuonghae has laundered the proceeds of Internet-enabled fraud in the amount of at least $2.5 million. 

The Criminal Complaint sets out the alleged plight of six victims, let's see what we got here.

Pig Butchering Scam Victim

Victim 1 met "Aggie Gonzalez" on a purported "professional social media website." at Page 2 of the Complaint. One thing seems to have led to another and Aggie Gonzalez asked Victim 1 to help with the purchase of medical equipment, which resulted in the victim sending Aggie money to purchase said equipment:

After Victim-1 sent money, "Aggie Gonzales" claimed that she was injured in Canada and needed Victim-I to send her additional money to cover hospital bills."
. . .

[A]n individual purporting to be "Dr. Ben Levy," a doctor in Brazil, sent Victim-1 a photograph of a woman in a hospital bed and stated the following: 

Aggie's situation is getting serious, I was informed by one of the nurses assigned to her that she noticed she was stooling blood, though she's been given medications to stop it, this is to say that her inner bleeding is getting worse and right now blood has flown down to her digestive organs and that is not a good sign at all. I plead with you on behalf of her to please save this woman's life. I understand that you may be doing the best you can but you need to know that time is not on her side.

at Pages 2 - 3 of the Complaint

Oh my, poor Aggie! As FBI Special Agent Hodge further alleges, Aggie promises, cross her heart, to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars but, y'know, oddly, Victim 1's bank won't accept the repayment and, gee, let's see if cryptocurrency might work. Yeah, sure, that makes sense but for the fact that it doesn't. All of which takes us to something called Alphacoin Lab, which promises a 120% per annum return on crypto investments; and, amazingly, out of the blue, purported representatives of Alphacoin Lab contacted Victim 1 via email and WhatsApp:

10. As a part of the scheme, Victim-1 was told that Victim-1 would have to send wire transfers to cover various fees and taxes to a bank account in the name of Kenny Global Enterprise LLC, Okuonghae's entity. Victim-1 was told that Kenny Global Enterprise LLC was a subsidiary of Alphacoin Lab. Victim-1 was also told further that Victim-1 could invest further funds in cryptocurrency by sending funds to Kenny Global Enterprises' bank account. 

11. In or around November 2021, a representative from Alphacoin sent an email to Victim-1 containing bank account information for Victim-1 to deposit money into, purportedly to resolve an issue related to Victim-1 wanting to withdraw money from his account. The bank account listed was in the name of Kenny Global Enterprises LLC at Bank-1. 

12. In or around April 2022, Victim-1 mailed a $29,000 certified check made payable to "Kenny Okuonghae" to an address in Edison, New Jersey. 

13. As a part of the scheme, Victim-1 was also instructed to wire money to Okuonghae's Kenny Global Enterprise account at Bank-2. 

14. A representative from Bank-2 reached out to Okuonghae about Victim-1 's wire transfers to Okuonghae's Kenny Global Enterprises, LLC business bank account. In or around January 2022, Okuonghae called Bank-2 and provided them with information that was different than what Victim-1 told the bank. Okuonghae did not mention cryptocurrency investment as a reason for having received the funds. Okuonghae falsely told the bank representative that his business bank account was an operating account for his car parts business. Okuonghae also falsely told the bank that Victim-l's wire transfers were to purchase car engines and car parts, and Okuonghae claimed that he had known Victim-1 for five years and had purchased car parts for Victim-1 in the past. 

In characterizing Victim 1's plight, the Criminal Complaint placed the Alphacoin scenario under what it called a "Pig Butchering Scam" heading. What's a Pig Butchering Scam" Great question and here's the answer:

e. "Pig Butchering" is a term derived from the Chinese word "Shazhupan," and referred to an Internet scheme that is believed to have originated in China. The scheme involves a romance scam victim developing what the victim perceives to be a romantic relationship online with the perpetrator. The perpetrator emotionally "fattens" the victim up before enticing the victim to invest in a fake cryptocurrency scheme and then, metaphorically, "slaughters" the victim by taking the victim's real money that he or she placed in the fake cryptocurrency investment scheme.

at Pages 1 - 2 of the Complaint

Online Property Scam Victim

Next, we come upon Victim 2, who was looking to rent a home and found a place in Washington State on a rental property website. Victim 2 submitted an online rental agreement replete with her personal information, and:

16. On or about January 9, 2022, Victim-2 received an email from someone purporting to be "Matthew J. Penny." "Matthew J. Penny" told Victim-2 that Victim-2 could lease the rental property, but that Victim-2 needed to wire money to an account to secure the rental. Victim-2 was advised further that Victim-2 would not be able to view the home until the current tenant moved out approximately one month later. 

17. On or about January 11, 2022, Victim-2 wired approximately $4,100.00 to Okuonghae's Kenny Global Enterprises bank account at Bank-2. Approximately two days later, Victim.-2 was notified by Victim-2's bank that Victim-2 may have been the victim of a fraud scheme. Victim-2 then drove to the address of the home listed on the rental agreement and knocked on the door to ask the current tenant if they were vacating the home in a month. The tenant of the home told Victim-2 that she was not moving, that Victim-2 was he victim of a scam, and that other people had come to the home with similar inquiries. 

In characterizing Victim 2's plight, the Criminal Complaint placed her home rental scenario under what it called an "Online Rental Property Scam" heading. 

Romance Scam Victims

Over the remaining pages of the 9-page Criminal Complaint, FBI Special Agent Hodge sets out the stories of Victims 3, 4, 5, and 6 under the heading of "Romance Scams":

Victim 3

19. In or around the middle of 2019, Victim-3 met an individual purporting to be named "Perry Colman" on an online dating website. "Perry Colman" told Victim-3 that he was from Manchester, England, and always wore sunglasses when they video chatted. Victim-3 and "Perry Colman" discussed plans to purchase a house together and get married. 

20. Eventually, "Perry Colman" asked Victim-3 to send him money to help with his business in China and Istanbul, and even convinced Victim-3 to quit Victim-3's job. "Perry Colman" told Victim-3 that he had been injured to a degree that required hospitalization. Victim-3 received a call from a woman claiming to be "Perry Colman's" neurosurgeon, who requested that Vicitm-3 send approximately $8,000 to cover the costs of "Perry Colman's" hospitalization and care. 

21. A review of records obtained for one of "Perry Colman's" email accounts reflects a message directing money to be sent to Okuonghae's Kenny Global Enterprises Bank-3 account and other bank accounts controlled by other individuals. 

22. In or around October 2019, Victim-3 wired approximately $15,000 to Okuonghae's Bank-3 account in the name of Kenny Global Enterprises LLC. The wire noted that it was for a "personal loan."

Victim 4

24. Victim-4 told law enforcement that Victim-4 met a man who went by the name "Adelbert Gunther" on an online dating website in or around August 2020 and regularly communicated with him. "Adelbert Gunther'' directed Victim-4 to wire money to Okuonghae's Bank-4 account in the name of Kenny Global Enterprises LLC. 

25. Records from Victim-4's bank account reflect that in or around August 2020, Victim-4 transferred approximately $15,000 to Okuonghae's Bank-4 account in the name of Kenny Global Enterprises. 

Victim 5

29. In or around June 2022, a representative from Victim-5's bank became suspicious of large cashier's checks being procured by Victim-5's accounts. Victim-S told bank representatives that Victim-5 had met a woman on an online dating website named "Jodie DeSidero." "Jodie DeSidero" told Victim-5 that she was a former army general who used to be deployed in Syria, where she had over a million dollars in Syrian bank accounts. "Jodie DeSidero" promised Victim-5 that if Victim-5 helped her get her money out of Syria, she would give Victim-5 a million dollars. After forming an emotional bond with "Jodie DeSidero," Victim-5 agreed to purchase cashier checks and make them all made payable to "Kenny Okuonghae." Victim-5, at "Jodie DeSidero's" instruction, mailed the cashier's checks to an address in New Jersey. 

30. Records from Victim-5's bank reflect that Victim-5 obtained cashier's checks made payable to "Kenny Okuonghae," including the following on or about the following dates: 

a. June 13, 2022, in the approximate amount of $15,000; 
b. June 17, 2022, in the approximate amount of $37,800; 
c. June 22, 2022, in the approximate amount of $44,540; and 
d. June 24, 2022, in the approximate amount of $28,600

Victim 6

32. Victim-6 informed Victim-6's bank that Victim-6 had been communicating with an individual named "Jodi DeSiderio," whom he met through an online dating site. "Jodi DeSiderio" told Victim-6 that she was a high-ranking military official in Syria who needed Victim-6's financial assistance to obtain a package that was caught in customs. 

33. In or around July 2022, Victim-6 obtained two cashier's checks made payable to "Kenny Okuonghae," one in the approximate amount of $14,995 and the other in the approximate amount of $39,890.  

Bill Singer's Comment

Like I said, we ain't dealing with the likes of Kim Kardashian. You're probably not going to see someone on the nightly news standing on the courthouse steps and conducting a press conference about the six victims above -- fact is, today's October 12th and the Complaint is dated October 7th, so, the time for press has come and gone, right? For me, that's the tragedy of the Kardashian nonsense and all the other crapola that diverts our attention from more serious frauds and crimes. As I see it, we should focus our attention on the likes of enumerated victims 1 through 6, men and women who are played for fools and whose lives are upended by someone allegedly running a con.

End of rant. For today . . .