DOJ Charges Four Individuals for Laundering Millions in Pig Butchering Scheme
On August 18th, 2020, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced charges against four individuals in connection with a fraudulent pig butchering scheme. The accused allegedly laundered millions of dollars by buying and selling pork in a complex series of transactions.
The charges came after a two-year investigation into the scam. The Department indicted Jamey Otthoff, 47, Amy Nowak, 55, and William Gierek, 28, of Kansas City, and Steven Eveland, 62, of Missouri. All four face charges for conspiracy to commit money laundering and multiple counts of money laundering and making false statements. According to the indictment, the four were involved in a scheme which included American Indian tribe members and incorporated companies in multiple states.
The scheme involved buying pigs from Virginia in bulk, sometimes at a thinner measure of weight than what was agreed upon in the contract. The pigs were then sold through multiple intermediaries in various states, with the money from those sales then drawn out and distributed to other persons involved in the scheme. In total, the defendants are accused of laundering more than $15 million.
If convicted on all charges, Otthoff and Gierek each face up to 246 years in prison and a maximum fine of $9 million. Nowak and Eveland face lesser sentences of up to 275 years in prison and a fine of $12.5 million each. The Department of Justice has yet to comment on the prosecution.