Maryland Man Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Customers in Scam Involving Fake Sales of Puppies | USAO-DC
WASHINGTON – A Maryland man who advertised pit bull puppy sales on various websites pleaded guilty today to a scheme that generated at least $ 158,000 in cash transfers from more than 100 victims the dogs never got .
The guilty admission was announced by Acting US Attorney Channing D. Phillips and Raymond Villanueva, Special Agent, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Washington, DC
Fonjeck Eric Azoh, 42, of Mount Rainier, Md., Pleaded guilty to wire fraud. The charges include a legal limit of 20 years in prison and potential fines. As part of the plea agreement, Azoh agreed that a restraint order of at least $ 158,000 would be appropriate in the case. He also agreed to confiscate $ 67,000 that was seized by law enforcement during the investigation and pay an additional $ 92,000 judgment. Azoh will be sentenced by the Honorable Carl J. Nichols in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on November 17, 2021.
According to the government, Azoh offered the pit bull puppies through various websites between January 2019 and October 2020. He agreed to sell these pups to victims in the United States, although he never intended to make them available. Azoh directed the victims to send him money through money transfer companies, which he then collected in retail stores and elsewhere. Throughout the program, Azoh raised at least $ 158,000 from at least 119 victims living in 40 different states.
Azoh was arrested in January 2021 and has been in custody ever since.
In announcing the plea, acting US Attorney Phillips and the responsible Special Agent Villanueva praised the work of those investigating the HSI case. They also expressed their appreciation for the work of those handling the case with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including U.S. Assistant Attorney John W. Borchert, who prosecuted the case.