Nigeria long jumper Mercy Abire faces a maximum jail term of 20 years in the US after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, Reelradio.com.ng reports.
The 28-year-old, a student at the Louisiana State University, and two other Nigerians including former men’s 100m national champion Raymond Ekevwo and Aniekeme Etim were indicted over wire and mail fraud in the US.
Their indictment came after another two Nigerians, Toluwani Adebakin and Emmanuel Ineh were convicted 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.
In a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Mississippi, Mercy Abire transferred over $100,000.00 to coconspirators through her U.S. bank account between November 2018 and April 2019.
The long jumper is expected to be sentenced on August 30, with the maximum jail term being 20 years after pleading guilty.
“A Nigerian citizen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering, announced U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Jermicha Fomby of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“According to court documents and information presented to the Court, between 2018 and 2022, Uyoyo Mercy Abire, 28, and her coconspirators used online romance scams, online charity scams, and other types of fraud to defraud victims of their money. The money received as a result of these scams was then transferred between the conspirators, and ultimately, much of the money was transferred overseas. Between November 2018 and April of 2019, Abire herself transferred over $100,000.00 to coconspirators through her U.S. bank account.
“Abire is scheduled to be sentenced on August 30, 2023. She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment. A federal district judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
“The FBI investigated the case.
“Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Eichner originally prosecuted the case, and it is currently being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Buckner,” the statement read.