Picture credit - KSTP - TV

A Texas woman who helped steal nearly a quarter-million dollars from an Augusta attorney faces up to 20 years in prison after being found guilty in a jury trial.

Gloria Ifem Okolie, 39, of Dallas, Texas, was found guilty Wednesday, May 15, of Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering as a federal jury in U.S. District Court in Augusta began a second day of deliberations, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. She was acquitted of a second charge in the case, Wire Fraud. A date for sentencing has not yet bet set.

According to court documents and testimony during the trial, Okolie, along with former co-defendant Paul Wilson Aisosa – who previously pled guilty to money laundering – participated in a scheme to steal $246,218.83 from an Augusta attorney who was deceived into rerouting the proceeds from the sale of a West Lake home.

The money was sent to an account Okolie opened at a Dallas bank, where she, Aisosa and a co-conspirator who is currently in Nigeria withdrew large portions of the money that they sent to other conspirators who also are believed to be in Nigeria.

“Complex international cases involving cyber fraud and banking manipulation are still, in the end, just old-fashioned theft,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine. “And just like any other theft, our job is to work with our law enforcement partners to bring these thieves to justice and shut down the avenues by which they enrich themselves at the expense of honest people.”

“Okolie was part of an elaborate plan of deception to steal money from an unsuspecting victim through an email scam,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “The FBI is committed to working with our international partners to crack down on these fraud schemes and reminds businesses to be diligently alert to potential email compromises.”

“Today’s conviction is a direct result of the excellent partnership IRS and the U.S. Attorney’s office has in combating violations of federal law,” said Thomas J. Holloman III, Special Agent in Charge of IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. “This conviction should serve as a deterrent to those who might contemplate similar fraudulent actions.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patricia Rhodes and Hank Syms.

This is a press release from the US Department of Justice.

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