BIRMINGHAM – A Vestavia Hills man has been charged with laundering approximately $2.3 million in illicit funds derived from business email compromise schemes targeting American businesses on Thursday, Nov. 30.
A seven-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges Robert Carleton Howard, 39, with conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to the indictment, from at least July 2021 through August 2021, Howard was part of a scheme that used fake email accounts designed to “spoof” or impersonate companies’ third-party vendors. The fake email accounts were created to trick those companies into wiring large amounts of money into bank accounts controlled by the conspiracy. Howard opened and controlled at least one bank account into which he received approximately $2.3 million in business email compromise proceeds within two days. Howard immediately converted those proceeds to cryptocurrency and transferred them to other members of the conspiracy and to his personal bank account.
If convicted, Howard faces up to twenty years in prison.
The FBI investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan “Jack” Harrington is prosecuting the case.
An indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.