Jailed internet cafe boss 'used' by fraudsters
A SWANSEA man has been jailed for 21 months for his part in a global money laundering scheme worth more than £1 million.
Jonathan Asamiewanlan, 32, had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of transferring criminal property and three charges of converting criminal property.
At Carmarthen Crown Court he admitted a further charge of transferring criminal property.
Asamiewanlan was investigated in relation to fraudulent transactions made between 2011 and earlier this year adding up to more than £1 million involving two accounts he held with money transfer services Western Union and Moneygram.
He was prosecuted over an amount of £111,150.94 in fraudulent transactions through both money transfer services.
However the transactions investigated were in excess of $1.8 million dollars — roughly £1.15 million.
Summing up the case, judge Peter Heywood said Asamiewanlan had been "used by others in a sophisticated fraud and your naivety taken advantage of".
The offences came to light when Asamiewanlan was running Joe Wan's Internet Cafe in Walter Road.
An agent for Western Union became suspicious over the amount of transactions he was processing and asked to see documents.
Among them were forged passports although the court heard it was unknown whether Asamiewanlan had forged the passports himself or he had been duped.
A search of the business and his home in Richardson Street found further documents and those relating to Moneygram.
Asamiewanlan was arrested trying to leave the UK for Lagos in May.
The charge he admitted related to more than $100,000 which a female financial worker in Houston, Texas USA had paid into an account after being conned into an online relationship with a man — not Asamiewanlan — purporting to be a neurosurgeon consultant who needed funds after the death of a business partner.
However, the cash was then spread to accounts in December last year including £62,000 into Asamiewanlan's business account. Some of the cash was then paid into a personal account of his.
Judge Peter Heywood said he was sentencing on a fraudulent amount of some £170,000 in total, adding: "There are clearly others further up involved in this but nevertheless these are serious matters."
Judge Heywood also ordered a restitution of £8,861 to be paid to the woman in Houston, Texas.