November 28, 2022

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Illinois Lawyer Sentenced to Nine Years in Prison for Sophisticated Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Scheme | USAO-MA

BOSTON – A Belgian and Lebanese national keeping an Illinois legislation license was sentenced these days for his part in a plan to defraud victims in several states, quite a few of whom imagined they ended up closing serious estate transactions or sending revenue to romantic associates. When the law firm gained the cash, he despatched large sums to fellow fraudsters overseas and took a minimize for himself, which he applied to invest on luxury objects and an global way of life.

Hassan A. Abbas, 64, of Belgium, was sentenced today by U.S. District Court docket Judge Leo T. Sorokin to nine decades in jail and three several years of supervised launch. Abbas was also requested to pay restitution and forfeiture of $2,001,853 and to pay out a $600 exclusive evaluation. In May perhaps 2022, Abbas was identified responsible by a federal jury of a single count of revenue laundering conspiracy, a single count of dollars laundering, two counts of wire fraud, and two counts of unlawful monetary transactions.

“Mr. Abbas abused his regulation degree in furtherance of a plan that stole tens of millions of dollars from innocent victims throughout the state. All of Mr. Abbas’s lies and techniques have eventually caught up with him. He was an equal option scammer. No matter if it was a fake romance or a bogus actual estate deal, he took benefit of victims by laundering their hard-earned revenue. He will now have 9 a long time to understand the error of his techniques,” mentioned United States Legal professional Rachael S. Rollins.

“With today’s sentence, Hassan Abbas has figured out his destiny for exploiting his legislation diploma to defraud unwitting victims and transferring that revenue abroad in a subtle plan to stay away from obtaining caught,” reported Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Particular Agent in Cost of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division. “The FBI is dedicated to holding the criminals behind these scams accountable for the damage they do to day-to-day citizens and our financial establishments resulting in thousands and thousands of bucks in losses.”

In between June 2017 and January 2019, Abbas and many others defrauded victims through a series of romance, company email compromise (BEC), and other ripoffs created to trick victims into wiring resources to financial institution accounts that Abbas controlled. A BEC scheme is a type of subtle fraud that usually targets people and organizations that have interaction in wire transfer payments. The fraud is carried out by compromising and/or “spoofing” reputable enterprise e-mail accounts and then speaking with victims by means of electronic mail to  bring about them to transfer resources to accounts controlled by the scammers. In romance ripoffs, perpetrators generally create fictitious on the net personas to produce on the internet passionate associations with individuals in the U.S. they then leverage those people relationships to get dollars and/or home. Abbas participated in each kinds of scheme by acquiring victims’ dollars and moving money overseas prior to victims could remember the wires or financial institutions grew to become suspicious.

Abbas included at the very least 5 shell businesses with no genuine enterprise and opened lender accounts in their names. Unique and corporate victims of BECs and romance ripoffs were being instructed to wire resources to Abbas’s sham corporate accounts. Some victims, which include two Massachusetts people, ended up tricked into wiring funds to Abbas while in the procedure of closing on a household invest in. The perpetrators also instructed victim businesses to remit invoice payments to Abbas’s accounts. Other victims, which includes a Massachusetts lady, have been led to imagine they have been transferring resources for the reward of their passionate companions.

On receiving funds from victims, Abbas transferred a part to his own bank accounts and used victim money on personal charges, like luxury merchandise and international vacation. He also wired victim resources to foreign bank accounts of abroad co-conspirators.  

When approached by money establishments about his account activity, Abbas disguised the functions of wire transfers to bank investigators, proclaiming that certain transfers had been for non-existent “clients” and, in a person occasion, insisting that info about the wires was guarded by the attorney-customer privilege.

U.S. Attorney Rollins and FBI SAC Bonavolonta designed the announcement these days. Precious assistance was offered by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office environment. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mackenzie A. Queenin and David M. Holcomb of Rollins’ Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the situation.