Credit: Darrow Montgomery/file

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A financial auditor for the D.C. government is facing federal money-laundering charges for an international romance scam in which he and a special deputy U.S. marshal allegedly bilked nearly $20 million from at least 21 victims, most of whom are senior citizens, according to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Maryland.

Charles Egunjobi, a tax auditor for the District’s chief financial officer, was arrested last week. His co-conspirator, Isidore Iwuagwu, was arrested Aug. 10.

The scheme, as investigators lay out, involved meeting victims on dating apps, posing as deployed military members, and asking for money for “personal hardships.” One woman, identified as “Victim A” in the criminal complaint filed against Egunjobi, met a man on a dating app named “Jose Velazquez,” who claimed to be a soldier deployed in Iraq. “Velazquez” told the woman he could not access his bank due to “insurgent activity” and asked her to purchase money orders on his behalf, then send them to various “agents” of the U.S. Army. Bank records show that Egunjobi received at least $8,000 directly from Victim A. He then quickly purchased four vehicles, records show.

“In his interview with law enforcement on August 10, 2022, Egunjobi voluntarily admitted he ships vehicles to West Africa to sell for profit,” the complaint says. Special Agent Gregory Stephens writes in the complaint that “purchasing used vehicles is a common form of trade-based money laundering used to conceal the nature of criminal proceeds.”

Egunjobi also admitted to investigators that “he receives U.S. currency from Iwuagwu and in exchange provides Iwuagwu with Nigerian Naira,” according to the complaint. 

Egunjobi worked as a tax auditor for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer since 2009 and is currently on administrative leave, according to the OCFO’s statement to the Washington Post. Salary information from December 2021 shows that Egunjobi made $103,731.

Egunjobi could face up to five years in prison; Iwuagwu is looking at up to 20 for his alleged crimes.

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