A dual Canadian and U.S. national was sentenced Wednesday to 140 months in federal prison for conspiring to launder tens of millions of dollars stolen in various wire and bank fraud schemes – including a massive online banking theft by North Korean cybercriminals.
Ghaleb Alaumary, 36, of Mississauga, Ontario, was sentenced after pleading guilty to two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering. As part of his sentence, Alaumary is also required to pay more than $30 million in restitution to victims and serve three years of supervised release after completion of his prison sentence.
“International money launderers provide critical services to cybercriminals, helping hackers and fraudsters to avoid detection and hide their illicit profits,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Small and large companies, a university, banks, and others lost tens of millions of dollars in this scheme.
“The defendant in today’s case laundered millions of dollars in losses from companies, universities and banks,” said Assistant Director Calvin Shivers of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Today’s sentence demonstrates that cybercriminals who launder illegitimate profits can’t evade detection from the FBI and our law enforcement partners.”
According to court documents, Alaumary and his coconspirators used business email compromise schemes, ATM cash-outs and bank cyber-heists to steal money from victims and then launder the money through bank accounts and digital currency. He previously pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Georgia in two money laundering cases.
In the first case, which was filed and investigated in the Southern District of Georgia, Alaumary conspired with others who sent fraudulent “spoofed” emails to a university in Canada in 2017 to make it appear the emails were from a construction company requesting payment for a major building project. The university, believing it was paying the construction company, wired $11.8 million CAD (approximately $9.4 million USD) to a bank account controlled by Alaumary and his co-conspirators. Alaumary then arranged with individuals in the United States and elsewhere to launder the stolen funds through various financial institutions.
Weeks later, Alaumary arranged for a co-conspirator in the United States to make several trips to Texas to impersonate wealthy bank customers in a scheme to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars from victims’ accounts using the victims’ stolen personally identifiable information.
In the second case, which was transferred to the Southern District of Georgia from the Central District of California for his guilty plea and sentencing, Alaumary recruited and organized individuals to withdraw stolen cash from ATMs; he provided bank accounts that received funds from bank cyber-heists and fraud schemes; 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. The funds included those from a 2019 North Korean-perpetrated cyber-heist of a Maltese bank. Other victims of Alaumary’s crimes included banks headquartered in India, Pakistan, and Malta, as well as companies in the United States and U.K., individuals in the United States, and a professional soccer club in the U.K.
Alaumary is the fourth defendant in this investigation to plead guilty in federal court to fraud felonies and be sentenced in the Southern District of Georgia. In 2019, co-defendant Uchechi Ohanaka was sentenced to 125 months imprisonment followed by five years of supervised release; Jennal Aziz was sentenced to six months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release, and Kelvin Desangles was sentenced to 57 months imprisonment followed by three years of supervised release.