July 24, 2024

Reported by the Tribune staff

BIRMINGHAM – On a Tuesday court hearing, 39-year old Robert Carlton Howard, hailing from Vestavia Hills, accepted his participation in a conspiracy of money laundering before U.S. District Court Judge Madeline H. Haikala.

Carlton’s guilt admission revolved around the laundering of around $2.3 million, money illegally gained from duping American businesses through business email compromise schemes. The revelations came from U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and FBI Special Agent in Charge Carlton L. Peeples.

Per the plea agreement, Howard was involved in a scam that took place from July 2021 to August 2021, where they used counterfeit emails mimicking companies’ third-party vendors. The scheme was meticulously orchestrated to deceive companies into transferring considerable amounts to Howard’s bank accounts. The scammed sum of $2.3 million landed in Howard’s account within just two days.

Howard made quick action by transferring these amounts to an IBS Kraken cryptocurrency exchange account. The money was then moved around to multiple other cryptocurrency wallets, all in the control of co-conspirators residing in Nigeria.

Out of the illegally obtained $2.3 million, Howard kept around $210,000, which he spent as a reward for his part in the sophisticated scam.

The case was under the investigation of FBI, and assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan “Jack” Harrington is in charge of the prosecution.

**Questions and Answers:**

1. What was the nature of the scam that Howard was involved in?

Howard was a part of a business email compromise scheme where fake emails were used to trick companies into transferring money to the fake vendor accounts controlled by the scammers. This scheme took place from July 2021 to August 2021.

2. How was the scam money used?

Once the money was transferred to Howard’s bank accounts, it was immediately transferred into a Kraken cryptocurrency exchange account in the name of IBS. It was then moved around to various other cryptocurrency wallets controlled by co-conspirators based in Nigeria.

3. What charges did Howard plead guilty to?

Howard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering before U.S. District Court Judge Madeline H. Haikala. He admitted to laundering around $2.3 million, which was illicitly obtained from business email compromise schemes targeting American businesses.