Two Nigerian athletes Toluwani Adebakin and Emmanuel Ineh might face up to 10 years in jail for wire fraud.
Ineh and Adebakin were both convincted by US District Judge Kristi Johnson of the Southern District of Mississippi for transferring thousands of dollars to Nigeria as part of a complex fraud scheme.
According to a statement published on the US Department of Justice website, their conviction was announced by U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby of Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Jackson Field Office.
“According to court documents, Emmanuel Ineh, 23, and Toluwani Adebakin, 25, pleaded guilty to violations of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1957, for engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activities, collectively sending tens of thousands of illicitly obtained proceeds to fraudsters in Nigeria as part of a larger mail fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy.
“The scheme involved Track and Field athletes from multiple higher learning institutions in the United States, with part of the conspiracy being operated out of Hattiesburg while the Ineh and Adebakin were Track and Field teammates at William Carey University. William Carey University was cooperative throughout the investigation,” the statement read.
“Both defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on February 15, 2023 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and faces a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation investigated the case.”
Adebakin earned a double master’s degree at the University of South Florida, with Masters in Business Administration and Masters of Science in Sports & Entertainment. He had earlier earned a Bachelors degree in Business Administration at William Carey University.
Ineh, who specialises in the long jump and triple jump won gold medal in the triple jump at the Africa Youth Games in Algiers in 2018 after earlier winning silver medal in the long jump event of the same competition some days earlier.