MIDDLETOWN – A Monmouth County man has been indicted for laundering money in connection to fraudulent schemes under the Cape Town Zone of Black Axe, officials said.
Andrew Suarez, 29, of Middletown, New Jersey, is charged by indictment with money laundering conspiracy, substantive money laundering counts, and aggravated identity theft.
According to authorities, Suarez worked with conspirators between August 2017 and December 2017 to launder money to organizations in Cape Town, South Africa. This included the account Abravoo Trading Company, which is controlled by a founding member of the Cape Town Zone of Black Axe. Black Axe members were responsible for widespread internet-based fraud schemes, officials said.
Suarez’s scheme consisted of opening bank accounts in the United States and using them to conceal money obtained through business email compromises and other fraud tactics. He would transfer the money to other U.S. bank accounts and wired it to bank accounts in Cape Town, South Africa.
In an effort to be discreet, Suarez would change the information on some of his bank accounts, so the accounts listed the name and address of a victim.
Each of the money laundering charges carries a maximum term 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000 or twice the value of the funds involved in the transfer, whichever is greater. The aggravated identity theft count carries a mandatory two-year prison term, which must run consecutively to any other term of imprisonment, and a fine not to exceed $250,000.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI, Red Bank Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, and the U.S. Secret Service’s Newark Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jose Riera, with the investigation leading to today’s charges. He also thanked the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Raymond Santiago, for its assistance in the case.