Suffolk man pleads guilty to stealing $4 million in inheritance scheme

Posted at 2:57 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 18:25:31-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - A Suffolk man is waiting to be sentenced in federal court after pleading guilty to stealing almost $4 million through an inheritance scheme that went on for years.

He is facing wire fraud and filing false tax return charges.

William Ogbonna was indicted last spring.

He and others not named in the plea agreement would tell people they were due a large inheritance.

Records state the victims were told they needed to pay taxes and fees and then were entitled to a large sum of money.

The documents reveal that after the victims paid the money, Ogbonna and others involved would disappear or tell the victims they needed to pay additional money to receive the inheritance.

The conspirators directed the victims to wire money to various bank accounts Ogbonna opened. Some were his personal accounts and others his business accounts.

Ogbonna owned several businesses over the past several years, such as Global Empire Export Company, Diesel Universal Works LLC and Global Link LLC.

It was part of the scheme that the conspirators contacted victims through Business Email Compromise scams and targeted businesses that worked with various suppliers and clients that regularly used wire transfer payments.

Records state they would compromise legitimate business email accounts through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques to send unauthorized transfers of funds that hacked business accounts.

The documents list three unidentified victims.

One person in Pennsylvania was scammed out of $17,000 on December 7, 2019.

Another person in Texas was scammed out of $6,400, then scammed again out of $75,000 in February.

Another victim wired $27,000, then wired an additional $3,600 to Ogbonna.

Documents state that as a result of the scheme, Ogbonna got at least $3,942,383.

He did not disclose the money he received through the scheme to the IRS, records indicate.

Ogbonna is currently being held in the Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 29 at 10 a.m. in Norfolk Federal Court.