The owner of a North Hollywood business pleaded guilty today to two felony counts related to a complex fraud scheme involving more than $500,000 in victim losses. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Horwitz immediately sentenced Jhonna Gutierrez Fueconcillo (dob 4/21/77) in case BA468299 to 7 years in state prison.
Fueconcillo pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and one count of money laundering, while also admitting to a special allegation that the losses in the case exceeded $500,000. As part of the plea, she was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $552,939, and she was also ordered to pay the California Franchise Tax Board $77,716 for taxes owed. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Warren Kato of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Community Cyber Investigation Response Team.
Jhonna Gutierrez Fueconcillo owned LG Enterprise in North Hollywood. During August of 2016, the company acted as a conduit to receive over $500,000 in fraudulently obtained proceeds and disburse it via cashier’s checks and cash withdrawals. Fueconcillo also never paid any state income tax for the fraudulently obtained proceeds. The business obtained the funds through a fraud scheme called Business Email Compromise (BEC). BEC is a complex, often multi-national, fraud scheme in which business victims are duped into wiring money to a criminal enterprise via email instructions under the false pretense that the wires are actually going to legitimate vendor accounts. This type of fraud is also known as “Wire-Wire” fraud.
Fueconcillo’s conviction is a part of “Operation Wire-Wire,” a coordinated international law enforcement operation that targeted hundreds in business e-mail compromise schemes. “Operation Wire-Wire” concluded earlier this month and resulted in 74 arrests in the United States and overseas, including 29 in Nigeria, and three in Canada, Mauritius and Poland. The operation, which was funded and coordinated by the FBI, serves as a model for international cooperation against specific threats that endanger the financial well-being of each member country’s residents.
This case is the result of a multi-agency collaborative effort that was investigated by FBI Los Angeles’ BEC Task Force and the California Franchise Tax Board. Investigating agencies from the task force include the San Bernardino Police Department; the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the FBI.
The FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office hosts a task force to address the growing threat of Business E-mail Compromise schemes which have caused dozens of millions in losses per month in Los Angeles alone. The agencies currently represented on the BEC Task Force include:
FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
San Bernardino Police Department
Orange County District Attorney's Office
Ventura County District Attorney's Office California Highway Patrol