City scammer found guilty in Florida

OTTAWA – Florida’s Elvin Lewis Jr. was found guilty of defrauding the City of Ottawa as well as others in thefts of more than $3 million.

Elvin Lewis Jr. Submitted
Elvin Lewis Jr. Submitted

Lewis Jr. was convicted of helping to launder more than $3-million in cyber scam funds being at the centre of a business email compromise (BEC) cyber scam. Followiis facing jail time after being found guilty. 

On Oct. 11 he was convicted of conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering charges of more than $3-million in BEC scams, including one that scammed the city of Ottawa out of $130,000

In July 2018, City of Ottawa Treasurer Marian Simulik received an email from someone she believed to be City Manager Steve Kanellakos, asking for her to transfer nearly $98,000 USD ($130,000 CAD) to a new supplier. 

Ottawa’s auditor general was told about the fraud by Simulik after she received a second email, asking for more money. Simulik was sitting with Kanellakos when the email came in and he confirmed he never requested the money be sent. It was then Simulik realized she had been scammed. 

The list of businesses Lewis Jr. was convicted of defrauding includes a trucking company from Tennessee, a power company in Ohio and an importing business based out of Chicago, among others. 

The U.S. Department of Justice said Lewis’ role in the money laundering conspiracy was to wire the proceeds from the BEC scams to his co-conspirators, who were located overseas. 

In total, Lewis Jr. made more than $160,000 USD, between November 2017 and August 2018. Many of those funds, along with a Porche he bought, were seized by U.S. Law Enforcement. 

Lewis is set to be sentenced in January 2020, and faces a maximum of 20 years behind bars. 

The city of Ottawa has been able to recover $24,108.49 (CAD) of the $130,000 as of July 3, 2019.