Man Claiming to be the Son of the President of the Congo Indicted for Defrauding Victims of $1.6 Million
|U.S. Attorney’s Office May 09, 2013|
SAN FRANCISCO—Earlier this week, a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Blessed Marvelous Herve, a/k/a Rodrigue Herve Ngandou, a/k/a Herve Rodrigue Ngandou, a/k/a Blessed Roll Herve, of San Francisco, for wire fraud, United States Attorney Melina Haag announced.
According to the indictment, Herve, 41, devised and executed a scheme to defraud victims of approximately $1.6 million. Herve claimed that his father was the president of the Congo and a multi-billionaire, but that the United States government had seized Herve’s assets, in excess of $43,000,000. Herve promised to pay bonus sums of more than $1,500,000 to victims in exchange for the victims’ financial support of Herve’s quest to obtain the $43,000,000 that the government purportedly had seized.
Herve also claimed that as a result the federal court case involving his seized funds, he was sent to federal prison from 2009 through 2012. During this time, Herve solicited funds from victims to assist with his alleged ongoing court proceedings and his incarceration. Herve again promised full repayment of victims’ money plus large bonuses upon the completion of his federal case and release of his funds. Specifically, in October 2012, Herve solicited and received $47,000 from a victim by falsely claiming that he needed the money to pay the Internal Revenue Service to satisfy the final judgment entered against him.
According to a criminal complaint filed in the same matter further, one of the victims was a real estate agent to whom Herve promised that his father, the multi-billionaire president of the Congo, would purchase tens of millions of dollars in real estate.
That victim gave Herve tens of thousands of dollars to assist in the purported father’s real estate tours, such as the rental of bulletproof limousines. The criminal complaint alleges that to lure in the victims and bolster his credibility, Herve showed various documents, such as a letter written to him from a United States Senator, copies of awards of recognition he received from the City and County of San Francisco, and a certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from a Member of Congress. When the victims ran out of money, Herve claimed that he was being deported to Puerto Rico and was not heard from again.
Herve, born in the Republic of Congo, was granted asylum in the United States in 1999 and became a United States citizen earlier this year.
Herve was arrested on a criminal complaint on April 24, 2013, in San Francisco, and he made his initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco the following day. He is currently being held in custody. The defendant’s next scheduled appearance is May 22, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. for further detention proceedings before Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins. Herve’s first appearance in district court is scheduled before Judge John Tigar on May 31, 2013 at 9:30 a.m.
The maximum statutory penalty for wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, is 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Hallie Hoffman is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Elizabeth Garcia. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Homeland Security.
Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Herve must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can .