Two Fort Bend County women were recently arrested as part of an international law enforcement effort to curb money laundering.
According to a news release from the FBI, Omomofe Esther Lawrence of Sugar Land and 34-year-old Lilian Taiye Obayemi of Rosenberg were among 19 people charged in the Greater Houston area as part of a four-month operation dubbed “Operation reWired” targeting Business Email Compromise (BEC) Schemes and their perpetrators.
There were a total of 281 people arrested in the United States and overseas and nearly $3.7 million seized by authorities, according to the FBI.
Lawrence and Obayemi were both charged with money laundering as part of the local sting, which was a joint effort by the FBI Houston Field Office, Houston Police Department, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office (HCDAO), the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office (FBCDAO) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of
The FBI release said BEC schemes often target employees with access to company finances and businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payments.
BEC perpetrators also exploit individual victims, often real estate purchasers, the elderly and others by convincing them to make wire transfers to bank accounts controlled by the criminals.
A spokesperson for the Fort Bend County District Attorney’s Office, which will be handling the cases of Lawrence and Obayemi, said there is no evidence the two were working together.
Lawrence is scheduled to appear Sept. 23 in the 282nd District Court, while Obayemi is scheduled to appear Oct. 14.