SAVANNAH, GA: A Canadian man who conspired to launder the tens of millions of dollars stolen from various wire transfer and bank fraud programs – including a massive online banking theft by North Korean cyber criminals – has been sentenced to nearly 12 years in federal prison.
Ghaleb Alaumary, 36, of Mississauga, Ontario, was sentenced to a total of 140 months in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of money laundering conspiracies, said David H. Estes, acting U.S. attorney for the southern district of Georgia . District Court Judge R. Stan Baker also ordered Alaumary to pay $ 30,703,946.56 in compensation to the victims and to be released under custody after completing his three-year sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.
“This defendant served as an integral channel in a network of cyber criminals who siphoned tens of millions of dollars from multiple companies and institutions around the world,” said acting US Attorney Estes. “He laundered money for a rogue nation and some of the world’s worst cybercriminals, and led a team of co-conspirators who helped fill thieves’ pockets and digital wallets. But US law enforcement agencies, in collaboration with their partners around the world, will bring fraudsters to justice who believe they can hide behind a computer screen. “
As described in unsealed court documents and trials, Alaumary and his co-conspirators used business compromise email programs, ATM withdrawals, and bank cyber-robberies to steal money from victims and then launder the money through bank accounts and digital currencies. He previously pleaded guilty to two money laundering cases in the southern Georgia district.
In the first case, filed and investigated in the southern district of Georgia, Alaumary conspired with others who sent fraudulent “fake” emails to a university in Canada in 2017 to create the appearance that the emails came from a university Construction company came out paying for a large construction project. The university, believed to be paying the construction company, transferred CAD 11.8 million (about $ 9.4 million) to a bank account controlled by Alaumary and his co-conspirators. Alaumary then arranged with individuals in the US and elsewhere to launder the stolen funds through various financial institutions.
Weeks later, Alaumary arranged several trips to Texas for a co-conspirator in the United States to impersonate wealthy bank customers in order to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims ‘accounts using the victims’ stolen personally identifiable information. There was a phone call to a co-conspirator in Savannah discussing the fraud.
In the second case, relocated from the Central District of California to the Southern District of Georgia for his admission of guilt and conviction, Alaumary recruited and organized individuals to withdraw stolen cash from ATMs; provided bank accounts that received funds from bank cyber-robberies and fraud systems; and once the ill-gotten funds were in accounts he controlled, Alaumary further laundered the funds through wire transfers, cash withdrawals, and by exchanging the funds for cryptocurrency. Funds included a cyber attack on a Maltese bank in 2019 by North Korea. Other victims of Alaumary’s crimes have included banks headquartered in India, Pakistan and Malta, as well as corporations in the US and UK, individuals in the US and a professional football club in the UK
“International money launderers provide critical services to cyber criminals, helping hackers and scammers avoid their illegal profits and hide their illegal profits,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Department of Justice’s Department of Criminal Investigation. “Businesses large and small, a university, banks and others lost tens of millions of dollars on this plan. Alaumary’s verdict today reflects how seriously the Justice Department takes the critical role money launderers play in global cybercrime. “
“The conviction of the defendant in this case speaks to the value of cross-border investigative cooperation,” said Steven R. Baisel, SAIC Field Office of US Intelligence Atlanta. “Despite the complex, international nature of this criminal enterprise, the accused and his co-conspirators were brought to justice.”
“This case exemplifies our relentless determination to hold criminals accountable, no matter how sophisticated their crimes may seem,” said Phil Wislar, acting special agent for the FBI Atlanta. “The arrest and conviction of cybercriminals like Alaumary, who feel safe behind a computer screen, is only possible through persistent investigative efforts by the FBI and our close cooperation with our US and international partners.”
Alaumary is the fourth defendant in the investigation to be convicted in the southern district of Georgia. Uchechi Ohanaka, Kelvin Desangles and Jennal Aziz had previously pleaded guilty to fraud in federal court and were sentenced to more than 200 months in prison.
The cases were investigated by the U.S. Intelligence Savannah Resident Office, with assistance from the Los Angeles Field Office and Global Investigative Operations Center, the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and followed up by the Criminal Investigation Department of the U.S. District Attorney’s Southern District of Georgia, Senior Trial Attorney Mona Sedky, of the US Department of Justice’s cybercrime and intellectual property division, and Assistant US Attorney Khaldoun Shobaki, of the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.