Allen Onyema, CEO of Air Peace has been arraigned for bank fraud and money laundering in the United States (US).
According to a report, the Air Peace Founder had been illegally moving money from Nigeria to the US for a long time. However, his latest attempt to move over $20 million caught the attention of US authorities after it was discovered his supporting documents were falsified.
Ejiroghene Eghagha, Air Peace Chief of Administration and Finance was charged alongside his boss for bank fraud as well as committing aggravated identity theft.
U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said “Onyema allegedly leveraged his status as a prominent business leader and airline executive while using falsified documents to commit fraud,”
“We will diligently protect the integrity our banking system from being corrupted by criminals, even when they disguise themselves in a cloak of international business.”
Following the uncovering of Onyema’s criminal activities, an operative of the US DEA labelled the CEO a fraudster who launders his ill-gotten wealth using his Airline as a front
“Allen Onyema’s status as a wealthy businessman turned out to be a fraud. He corrupted the U.S. banking system, but his trail of deceit and trickery came to a skidding halt. DEA would like to thank the many law enforcement partners and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office who aided in making this investigation a success.” said Robert J. Murphy, the Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division
US Attorney Pak disclosed that investigations revealed that $44.7 million was transferred to Onyema’s Atlanta based accounts between 2010 and 2018, just around the same time he began his frequent trips to Atlanta.
Pak also disclosed that over $3 million used to purchase aircrafts were reportedly funds that belonged to the foundations Onyema established to promote peace. Some of the foundations include Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited, and Every Child Limited.
In a report obtained from Justice.Gov, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Garrett L. Bradford, Deputy Chief of the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section and Lead Strike Force Attorney, Irina K. Dutcher, and Christopher J. Huber, Deputy Chief of the Complex Frauds Section, are prosecuting the case, with assistance from the Department of Justice’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section and Office of International Affairs.
This news is coming at a time Allen Onyema is being celebrated for singlehandedly sponsoring the return of Nigerians who suffered xenophobic attacks in South Africa.