Two Maryland Men Facing Federal Indictment on Charges Related to the Illegal Importation of Iranian Currency and Fraudulent Wire Transfers to Purchase Foreign Currency

One Defendant Allegedly Violated the Trade Embargo Against Iran
May 13, 2021

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Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Richard Allan Boyd, age 58, and Lee Ryan Fondiller, age 50, both of Eldersburg, Maryland, for the federal charges of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and wire fraud, in connection with a scheme to import foreign currencies, including the Iranian rial and Iraqi dinar, from suppliers outside the United States.  Boyd is also charged with violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, and making false statements under oath in a bankruptcy proceeding.  The indictment was returned on April 29, 2021 and unsealed at Boyd’s initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on May 10, 2021.  Fondiller had his initial appearance on May 12, 2021.  Both defendants were released pending trial.

The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge James R. Mancuso of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; and Special Agent in Charge Jamie Mazzone of the U.S. Department of Transportation-Office of Inspector General.

According to the 32-count indictment, from at least January 30, 2017 until at least October 17, 2018, Boyd, Fondiller, and others conspired to defraud financial institutions to effect transfers of funds in payment for foreign currency banknotes, while misrepresenting and concealing the true purpose of the payments. 

Specifically, the indictment alleges that Boyd caused his business, Amoyeshua Enterprises, to market foreign currencies to customers in the United States and elsewhere and accepted orders for foreign currencies from customers through the Internet, telephone, and other means. Boyd allegedly arranged for shipments of foreign currencies into the United States by, in part, making payments to foreign suppliers of the currencies through wire transfers of funds.  The indictment alleges that Boyd facilitated customers’ purchases of foreign currency by accepting funds from the purchasers via interstate wire transfers.  Boyd and Fondiller allegedly made payments to foreign suppliers of the foreign currencies by submitting requests and orders to banks where they had business accounts for international wire transfers to the foreign sellers.  According to the indictment, Boyd, Fondiller, and others concealed the true purpose of the international wire transfers to their banks by falsely representing that the wire transfers were for jewelry, watches, and/or other items.  The indictment alleges that Boyd, Fondiller, and others caused fraudulent wire transfers totaling more than $300,000 to be sent to banks in Jordan.

As detailed in the indictment, in requesting and directing payment for foreign currencies, Boyd instructed customers by email, text message, and other means, not to indicate or note to any intermediary financial institution or payment processor that the customer's payment was made in exchange for currency.  In addition, Boyd allegedly fabricated invoices reflecting purchases of watches and jewelry in order to disguise the true purpose of the payments to his foreign currency supplier via international wire transfer, and sent the invoices to the foreign supplier by email as false documentation of the payments.

The indictment also alleges that Boyd violated the trade embargo against The Islamic Republic of Iran (“Iran”) by importing Iranian rial banknotes between 2016 and 2018.  The rial is the currency of Iran and is issued by the Central Bank of Iran, which is owned by the Government of Iran. The importation of Iranian rial banknotes ("rials") into the United States was prohibited by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (“IEEPA”) and the Iran Transactions and Sanctions Regulations (“ITSR”). The indictment alleges that between 2015 and 2018, Boyd imported Iranian rials into the United States, marketed rials via the Internet and other means (including under trade names such as Amoyeshua Enterprises and BuyNewDinar.com), and distributed rials to customers in the United States and elsewhere.

In about February 2016, officers of United States Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) stationed at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York examined several packages shipped from Amman, Jordan. Some of the packages were addressed to Boyd at his residence and others were addressed to customers, family members, and associates of Boyd.  CBP officers found that the packages contained Iranian rials. After confirming with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) that the importation of Iranian rials was prohibited by IEEPA and the ITSR, CBP officers seized the rials and packaging materials.

Between March and April 2016, Boyd, his customers, family members, and associates received letters from CBP notifying them of seizures of Iranian rials in February 2016 and stating that the importation of Iranian currency to the United States was prohibited by law.  The indictment alleges that after being notified and acknowledging that the importation of Iranian rails weas illegal, Boyd continued to import Iranian rials into the United States, advertise the sale of Iranian rials on the Internet, accept orders and payments from customers for rials, and sell and distribute rials to customers in the United States, all without any license or authorization from OFAC.

Finally, the indictment alleges that on August 1, 2018, Boyd made false statements under oath during his bankruptcy proceeding.  Specifically, Boyd allegedly stated that he had closed his currency selling business in July 2018, and had no intention of reopening the business.  In addition, Boyd allegedly stated that he did not try to import any more Iranian currency after CBP seized the currency shipment in January 2016.  In fact, Boyd caused Iranian rial to be brought into the United States in 2017 and 2018, and continued to direct and conduct transactions of foreign currencies after August 1, 2018.

If convicted, Boyd and Fondiller each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison for each count of wire fraud affecting financial institutions.  Boyd also faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for each of 10 counts of violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act; and a maximum of five years in federal prison for each of two counts of false oath in a bankruptcy proceeding.  Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings. 

Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended HSI and DOT OIG for their work in the investigation and thanked U.S. Customs and Border Protection for its assistance.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Maddox, who is prosecuting this case.