Two Eldersburg men are facing federal charges in connection with a scheme to smuggle Middle Eastern currency into the country.
Richard Allan Boyd, 58, and Lee Ryan Fondiller, 50, are charged with conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, while Boyd is also charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which was used to impose a trade embargo with Iran.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says in an indictment that Boyd ran a company called Amoyeshua Enterprises which allegedly arranged to import Iranian rial and Iraqi dinar, and he and Fondiller arranged payments to foreign suppliers by misrepresenting the true purpose to banks facilitating wire transfers.
The company, registered in Nevada in 2012, was described as being in the business of sales of antiques and collectibles, and later of high quality men’s and women’s watches. Boyd is accused of fabricating invoices for such purchases.
The indictment alleges that Boyd, Fondiller and others caused fraudulent wire transfers totaling more than $300,000 to be sent to banks in Jordan.
The scheme was apparently first flagged in February 2016, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York examined several packages shipped from Amman, Jordan. Some were addressed to Boyd, and others were addressed to his customers, family members and associates. CBP officers found the packages contained Iranian rials, and seized them, prosecutors say.
The next month, Boyd was informed by an associate that the trade embargo against Iran prohibited people in America from engaging in transactions and other activity related to the Iranian rial, the indictment alleges. CBP officials later also informed Boyd that the importation of Iranian currency was prohibited and the currency was subject to forfeiture.
Boyd sent several letters to CBP saying in part, “I take full responsibility for the mistake in believing these notes could be imported without restriction and I am in the process of applying for an import license at this time,” according to the indictment.
But he didn’t obtain such a license, and, prosecutors say, continued to import the foreign currency. He paid one individual in Canada $10,800 in 2017 to obtain Iranian rial bank notes, and in 2018 paid the same person $3,200 for another quantity of rial.
Boyd filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018, and reported that he had not used any business or trade names in the previous eight years. Prosecutors say that was a false statement, because of his ownership of Amoyeshua Enterprises.
At a meeting of creditors, he said he had been selling Iraqi currency up until July 2018. “There was a couple of years that showed a pretty good profit, but the last few years, not so much,” he said, according to the indictment. “And I’ve since closed that business out.”
Boyd’s attorney, Joseph Murtha, declined to comment.
Fondiller is accused of starting a business called R Sloan Homes LLC, said to be for real estate development but instead used to open a bank account to assist Boyd.
Fondiller made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court and pleaded not guilty, and was released pending trial. His attorney, Gary Proctor, declined to comment.