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Fraudster Nabbed After Laundering $4.5 Million Acquired Through BEC Scams to Buy a Ferrari

In one instance, the fraudster, Malachi Mullings used the laundered funds to buy himself a Ferrari.
Cover Image Source: The Justice Department seal is seen on the lectern | Getty Images | Photo by Mark Wilson
Cover Image Source: The Justice Department seal is seen on the lectern | Getty Images | Photo by Mark Wilson

Scams have become more sophisticated thanks to technology in the digital age, but at the same time, fraudsters have adopted innovative methods to launder proceeds from such activities. A man from Sandy Springs, Georgia was sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of money laundering and conspiracy to commit fraud. Malachi Mullings was found guilty in connection with a digital fraud network that carried out business email compromise (BEC) attacks, romance scams, and healthcare benefits fraud.

As per the U.S. Department of Justice’s press release, Mullings 31, stole more than $4.5 million through the various schemes and laundered funds by opening multiple bank accounts in the name of a sham company and spent the funds on a Ferrari.

Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Joshua Koblin
Representative Image | Unsplash | Photo by Joshua Koblin

As per the charges and information presented, Mullings opened about 20 bank accounts in the court between 2019 and July 2021. The accounts were opened in the name of his shell company, the Mullings Group LLC. Mullings then used those accounts to launder millions of dollars of fraud proceeds.

These funds were generated by various scams including business email compromise (BEC) schemes, which involve fraudsters impersonating business partners to trick organizations into wiring them money which in turn is funneled into criminal-controlled bank accounts.

According to the latest data from the FBI, BEC scams caused damages worth $2.9 billion in 2023 alone. This means that one successful BEC attack can cost a business about $137,132 on average last year.

Mullings's schemes also targeted a healthcare benefit program and private companies, while romance scams were also a part of the network. Elderly victims who are prone to digital fraud, are targeted by the classic social-engineering tactics by romance scammers. By slowly gaining their trust, fraudsters obtain access to their accounts and in several cases, victims lose their entire life or retirement savings to such scams.

To launder the funds obtained from the various schemes, Mullings and his co-conspirators, engaged in financial transactions designed to conceal the proceeds from the fraudulent activities. Through the dubious bank accounts, the group laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mullings even used some of the funds to purchase luxury items, such as expensive cars and jewelry.

As per the press release, on one instance, Mullings laundered $310,000 which was fraudulently obtained from a state Medicaid program. These funds were originally intended as reimbursement for a hospital. In another instance, Mullings laundered $260,000 obtained from a romance scam targeting an elderly victim and used these funds to buy himself a Ferrari. “Motivated by greed, Mullings and his co-conspirators brazenly stole millions of dollars from companies and elderly victims located throughout the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Buchanan.

Mullings was arrested in January 2022, and charged with conspiracy for money laundering and seven substantive money laundering offenses. He eventually pled guilty to all the charges in 2023.

Mullings was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael L. Brown to 10 years in prison on May 21, 2024. The sentence also ordered that the prison sentence be followed by three years of supervised release. He has also ordered to pay restitution to victims.