US Court Jails Nigerian Fashion Designer, Alvince Over Fraud

By Tapre Timine
6 Min Read

A US-based Nigerian fashion designer, Alade Vincent, aka, Alvince, has been sentenced to four years imprisonment for committing wire fraud estimated at $1.1 million.

Alvince would also serve two months in federal prison by the US District Court in the District of Maryland’s judgment on October 17.

He was arrested by federal authorities on November 3, 2021.

Alvince then appeared before the federal court in Baltimore, Maryland on that day where he was charged before Magistrate Judge, Thomas DiGirolamo, for aggravated identity theft and conspired wire fraud.

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On July 5, 2022, District Judge Stephanie Gallagher convicted Alvince of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft after the Department of Homeland Security Investigations indicted him.

He, however, pleaded guilty to the charges.

Gallagher ruled:

“The defendant is hereby committed to the custody of the United States Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a term of 26 months as to Count 1 and 24 months as to Count 6 to run consecutively to the term imposed as to Count 1 for a total term of 50 months.”

The judge again ordered Alvince to pay $243,269.00 in restitution, with two years of supervised release (one year each for both charges) after the completion of his jail term.

Court documents insisted that the fashion designer used the accurate identity information of individuals to open numerous bank accounts to obtain funds from companies and individuals, using fraudulent emails and phone calls in early 2019.

The fashion designer, who ranked among the top bespoke designers in Lagos, had conspired with other Nigerians, Hameed Adesokan, Adewumi Abioye, Lukman Salam, Akolade Ojo, and Damilola Lawal, to deceive his victims into sending funds to numerous bank accounts monitored by Alvince.

Alvince had obtained Delaware and North Carolina driver’s licenses, providing personal information of two victims who resided in Nebraska and Missouri, respectively. Documents obtained from US financial institutions also indicated that surveillance images of transactions matched that of Alvince.

The special agent in charge, Darren R. Rusakiewicz said:

Vincent then used the fake identification documents to open financial institution accounts and engaged in financial transactions involving those accounts, including attempting to deposit a fraudulent check, receiving proceeds from fraud, and disbursing proceeds of fraud through a variety of means to include, but not limited to, wire transfers, money order purchases, ATM and cash withdrawals, and casino activity.”

The document said the fashion designer, on January 22, 2019, registered a company named SG Enterprise LLC in Maryland, using the details of his first victim contained in the Delaware driver’s license.

He received $10,000 from the said company’s account on February 19; $21,095 on March 19 from a South African bank, which the investigator said: “was removed through the point-of-sale transactions, an ATM withdrawal, and a wire transfer.”

On March 21, 2019, SG Enterprise LLC’s account in Well Fargo received $385,500.12 interstate wire, later, the bank received a letter from Fifth Third Bank stating that its (the latter) customer, a construction company, had been a victim of identity fraud. Wells Fargo subsequently froze S.G. Enterprise LLC’s account and soon returned the funds to Fifth Third Bank.

According to the document, the company received $26,943.81 in its BB&T account on March 26, 2019. The individual from whom the money was transferred told the federal investigator that Alvinve through his company, fraudulently induced him into paying the money after receiving an email.

Alvinve through another S.G. The Enterprise LLC account he opened in Chase Bank, received a $90,300 incoming wire from a firm. He withdrew some funds and sent some to the Dubai Islamic Bank. On June 17, 2019.

The fashion designer had also attempted to deposit a SunTrust check of $42,899 on June 17, which was returned as “altered/fictitious.”

Federal investigators, in October 2021,

interviewed Alvinve’s first victim, whose identity was used in the Delaware driver’s license and company, but the victim affirmed that he did not open the enterprise with which the fashion designer used to defraud individuals.

Alvinve subsequently registered another company, Timberg Enterprise LLC, also in Maryland, using the information of his second victim, whose personal information was used for the North Carolina driver’s licence. He opened a Bank of America business account, receiving $390,386.72 incoming wire from a firm on June 28.

From his Timberg Enterprise business account, the fashion designer, via telephone calls, defrauded another company with $40,000 which was paid into the accounts opened in his victim’s name.

According to the document, Alvinve again received $59,467.55 incoming wire in his BB&T account on June 18, 2019, from Wells Fargo.

Also, when interviewed by the investigator at his Missouri residence on October 8, 2021, the other victim affirmed that he did not open the business or sign signature cards.

Alvinve won several fashion awards and was nominated for Future Awards in 2009.

His fashion business was among the most visible in the Lagos fashion district at Adeniran Ogunsanya in Surulere from 2014-2015.

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