In a shocking revelation sending shockwaves through the athletics community, Nigerian long jumper Mercy Abire may face up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in the United States.
According to reports, the 28-year-old athlete, alongside her co-conspirators, former men’s 100m national champion Raymond Ekevwo and Aniekeme Etim, utilized various fraudulent schemes between 2018 and 2022 to defraud unsuspecting victims.
From the court documents presented during the trial, the trio masterminded online romance scams, online charity scams, and other deceptive tactics, which generated substantial sums of money. The ill-gotten gains were then transferred between the conspirators, with a considerable portion of the funds being sent overseas.
Notably, Abire herself transferred over $100,000 to her co-conspirators through her U.S. bank account from November 2018 to April 2019. This substantial involvement in the financial dealings led to her being implicated in the money laundering operation.
U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca, who oversaw the case, revealed that the FBI conducted a thorough investigation into the matter.
Following her plea, Mercy Abire is scheduled to be sentenced on August 30, 2023, and she now faces a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment. The final decision rests with a Federal District judge, who will consider the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors in determining her fate.