38-year-old Chinwendu Azuonwu has been accused of impersonating best-selling music artist Bruno Mars in order to swindle a 63-year-old out of money. He is being represented by Houston’s heavy-hitter defense lawyer, Maverick Ray. Both Mr. Azuonwu and Maverick Ray deny his involvement in a catfish scheme that defrauded a woman out of $100,000.
Maverick Ray & Associates represents clients who have been accused of crimes in Houston and throughout Texas. Attorney Maverick Ray is an award-winning defense lawyer known for his ability to get even the most challenging cases reduced or dismissed. If you have been arrested or are facing criminal charges, contact our office for the dedicated representation you deserve.
Mr. Azuonwu is being charged with money laundering after a senior allegedly wired tens of thousands of dollars to two different accounts. Prosecutors allege that the woman believed she was in a romantic relationship with Azuonwu, who portrayed himself as multi-platinum recording artist Bruno Mars. Multiple news outlets, including Oxygen, have picked up the story.
Attorney Maverick Ray believes that his client was part of a larger scam that defrauded the victim out of money. As Mr. Ray indicated to Oxygen, “Mr. Azuonwu is maintaining his innocence and has not been identified or been alleged to be the actual ‘Bruno Mars’ perpetrator.”
According to prosecutors, the 63-year-old engaged in text communications with someone she believed to be Bruno Mars over several weeks. The person then asked her to send $10,000 for “tour expenses” and later $90,000. The woman deposited the requested money into two separate accounts, one of which is allegedly owned by Azuonwu.
Mr. Azuonwu has never been identified as the person who claimed to be Mars. Attorney Ray maintains that his client never posed as Bruno Mars and was not engaged in an attempt to fraudulently obtain money from the alleged victim. Ray believes that his client may have been the victim in a larger scheme perpetrated by a criminal organization.
Attorney Maverick Ray explained to Oxygen that the money deposited into his client’s account was from a “longtime” friend who intended to purchase a car and send money to family in Nigeria, but did not own a bank account. Mr. Azuonwu did not know that the cash deposited into his account was obtained fraudulently or was part of an alleged catfishing scam.
Mr. Azuonzu is originally from Nigeria, but has lived in the United States for over two decades. The account in question is the one he uses to deposit his paychecks, pay rent, and use for everyday expenses. As noted by Mr. Ray, “the cashier check in question was made out to his friend, who he has known for a very long time.” His client did not know where the money came from and was not involved in a money-laundering scheme.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Houston or throughout Texas, contact Maverick Ray & Associates today for a free consultation. Our attorneys believe in fighting for people’s rights and will work hard to get you the best possible results in your case. Mr. Ray believes that freedom is always worth defending and is not afraid to go to trial for his clients.
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