Anslem Oshionebo, 45, and Opeyemi Odeyale, 43, have been sentenced to 27-month prison sentences for failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering control and unlicensed money transmitting, according to US legal filings.
The United States-based fintech, Ping Express US LLC now faces five years of probation and a fine as high as $500,000.
According to a report from the US Department of Justice, the Texas-based company admitted that it transmitted more than $167 million overseas, including $160 million transmitted to Nigeria without seeking sufficient details about the sources or purposes of the funds involved in the transactions, or the customers initiating the transmissions.
Ping Express also sent customers’ remittances to Kenya and other African nations. In one three-year period highlighted by the DoJ, the firm failed to flag a single suspicious transaction to regulators despite processing a “significant amount” of them, though it filed a batch of reports later.
According to the statement, one customer used the firm to move funds they made from fake-romance scams, with victims including a woman in Indiana who sent $15,000 to a supposed roughneck oil worker in the Gulf of Mexico, and another who sent $6,300 to a purported Irish sea captain. Another customer moved more than $80,000 in a single month, far more than the company’s $4,500 limit, court filings show.
Founded in 2014 by co-founders, Anslem Oshionebo and Opeyemi Odeyale, Ping Express was formed in December 2014 and launched its service in December 2015 to disrupt remittance industry.
Sentencing has been set for Dec. 19, 2022.