Ebony Mayfield, a co-conspirator in the alleged $20 million fraud involving Allen Onyema, the founder of Air Peace, has entered a guilty plea.
At the District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta on June 29, Ms. Mayfield entered a to one of the eight charges brought against her by the U.S. government.
Mr. Onyema is accused of being the fraud’s driving force. It was purportedly carried out on the pretense of acquiring funds to purchase airplanes for Air Peace, a major Nigerian airline, in the United States.
Between May 2016 and February 2018, Ms. Mayfield allegedly assisted Mr. Onyema in carrying out the $20 million bank fraud while serving as manager of Springfield Aviation Company LLC, a company controlled by the founder of Air Peace.
The bogus paperwork used by Mr. Onyema to commit the bank fraud in the U.S. were signed and submitted by her, according to American prosecutors.
Ms. Mayfield had previously entered a plea of not guilty to all eight charges brought against her in December 2019. She was detained on June 7, 2019, for her alleged participation in the alleged conspiracy.
Premium Times reported that her trial was set to begin on August 8 in March of this year.
But when she went before the trial judge, Eleanor Ross, on June 29, she shifted her plea from not guilty to guilty days before the scheduled trial date.
She pleaded guilty particularly to Count 5, which is a conspiracy to commit credit application fraud, according to a copy of the plea deal she and her attorney signed with U.S. prosecutors.
According to a copy of the plea bargain that PREMIUM TIMES acquired, “The Defendant (Ebony Mayfield) agrees that she is pleads guilty because she is actually guilty of the crime(s) charged in Item 5.”
According to the plea deal, she could spend up to five years in prison.
The maximum jail term allowed by Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, under which she was charged with the crime in Count 5, is five years.
However, there is a possibility that she receives a sentence of less than five years at her already scheduled September 21 sentencing.
The plea agreement stated that prosecutors would “submit a motion before sentence proposing a reduced deviation from the appropriate guideline range if her cooperation with the government continued to qualify as substantial assistance.