The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, has declared a Nigerian, Chidozie Collins Obasi, wanted over $30m fraud.
The FBI said Obasi was indicted and wanted for defrauding New York State more than $30 million by posing as a ventilator seller during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aside from posing as ventilator seller, the FBI said the suspect targeted Americans through a spam email campaign offering illegitimate “work from home” jobs
The security agency said the 29-year-old Obasi perpetrated the fraud from Nigeria, with the help of co-conspirators in Canada and elsewhere.
In a statement by the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, US Attorney Jacqueline Romero, said the suspect was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud, and 16 counts of wire fraud.
The statement issued on Friday read, “The defendant and his co-conspirators are alleged to have obtained more than $31,000,000 through this multi-faceted fraud scheme, with the overwhelming majority of that money – more than $30 million – coming from the State of New York for the intended purchase of ventilators.
“The scheme alleged in the Indictment began in September 2018, with a spam email campaign that offered phony “work from home” jobs. When a person responded to the phony job offer, Obasi or a co-conspirator posed as a representative of a legitimate company, often a supposed medical equipment supplier based outside the United States, and offered the person a job as the company’s U.S. representative with responsibilities including collecting on outstanding invoices.
“A co-conspirator in Canada then sent the new “employee” counterfeit checks purportedly from customers of the company, and the new “employee” deposited the checks, took a commission, and wired the rest of the money to a foreign bank account ostensibly owned by the fake company. As alleged in the Indictment, Obasi and his co-conspirators obtained more than $1 million in this manner.
“The Indictment further alleges that in approximately March 2020, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and ventilators were in high demand, Obasi posed as a representative of an Indonesian-based medical supply company offering ventilators for sale, and claimed to have a large stockpile of ventilators manufactured by a German company whose headquarters was in Telford, PA. The defendant allegedly convinced a medical equipment broker in the U.S. to broker sales of these non-existent ventilators, and ultimately deceived the State of New York into wiring more than $30 million for the purchase of ventilators that did not exist. Obasi continued to target other potential customers with this same scam, including hospitals.
“Later, in approximately June 2020, the Indictment alleges that Obasi and his co-conspirators took advantage of the EID Loan program by using stolen identities of U.S. citizens to apply for and obtain more than $135,000 in EID Loan proceeds.
“Obasi is presently a fugitive, and the United States is seeking to locate and arrest him. Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts should contact their local FBI Office.
“If caught and convicted, Obasi faces a maximum sentence of 621 years in prison, a five-year period of supervised release, and a $5,750,000 fine. Obasi also will be required to make full restitution of the more than $31,000,000 that he obtained by fraud.
“The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael S. Lowe.”
84-year-old man rapes 8-yr-old child in Ogun
Operatives of the Ogun State Police Command have arrested one 84-year-old Stephen Jack for allegedly defiling an eight-year-old girl (name withheld).
The state Public Relations Officer, SP Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed this in a statement issued on Saturday in Abeokuta.
Oyeyemi said the octogenarian who resides at Okun Owa area of Ijebu Ode was arrested following a report lodged at Obalende divisional headquarters.
He said the girl’s father had told the police he discovered that his daughter was bleeding from her private part.
According to Oyeyemi, the father said when he asked the little girl why she was bleeding, she informed him that the suspect had sex with her.
Oyeyemi said the DPO Obalende division, Murphy Salami, immediately detailed his detectives to the scene, where the “randy old man” was apprehended.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the old man is a known pedophile in the area,” he said.
Oyeyemi said the victim had been taken to the General Hospital Ijebu Ode for medical treatment.
He quoted the Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, to have directed the transfer of the suspect to State Criminal Investigation Departments for more investigation and possible prosecution.
Troops kill 38 ISWAP, seven Boko Haram terrorists in Sambisa Forest, says DHQ
The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) has said that no fewer than 38 Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP) terrorists were killed in the past two weeks in major onslaught against terrorists by troops in the dreaded Sambisa Forest in Borno State.
The DHQ said that troops in the various theatre of operations conducted several kinetic and non-kinetic operations with significant results recorded.
Director, Defence Media Operations (DMO), Maj.-Gen. Musa Danmadami, while briefing Defence Correspondents, yesterday, on the successes recorded, said that troops of Operation Hadin Kai had sustained aggressive operations to deny terrorists further freedom of action.
He said: “In furtherance to this, troops conducted fighting patrols, ambushes and clearance operations at communities, villages and towns in Kukawa, Monguno, Kaga, Dikwa, Biu, Damboa, Gwoza, Mafa, Konguda, Bama and Guzamala local councils, all in Borno State.
“Of significant was the neutralisation of two key Boko Haram Terrorists/ISWAP commanders on September 12 and 15, 2022, identified as Abu Asiya and Abu Ubaida (A Qaid), at Parisu and Sheruri general area in Sambisa Forest respectively.
“Consequently, within the period in review, troops neutralised 36 terrorists, rescued 130 civilians and arrested 46 suspected Boko Haram terrorists as well as 12 suspected Boko Haram terrorists/ISWAP logistic suppliers.
Furthermore, 21 AK-47 rifles, 163 rounds of 7.62mm special, two RPG bombs, 25 dane-guns, four unexplosive ordinance store, two bandoliers, 10 solar panels, 23 bicycles, 10 motorcycles, one tricycle, 19 cell phones, 28 torch-lights, bags of assorted grains, 122 rustled sheep and N203,125 were recovered, among other items.”
Also, troops have killed seven Boko Haram terrorists in Kayamla Village of Konduga Local Council of Borno State.
The insurgents were neutralised on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, in an ambush of 73 battalion in collaboration with civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) in Kayamla.
A counter-insurgency expert in the Lake Chad region, Zagazola Makama, who confirmed the incident, yesterday, in Maiduguri, said that the marauding terrorists were massively escaping from the sustained military onslaughts of terrorists’ hideouts.
He said that the terrorists usually come to the areas to terrorise farmers and kidnap them for ransom.
He added that the troops had intensified their offensives against the terrorists, including their collaborators and logistic suppliers.
Meanwhile, the Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai has also charged the troops to be responsible and professionals in defending the territorial integrity of the nation.
He commanded the soldiers to kill every terrorist in the North-East region with no mercy.
Nigerian posing as football fan arrested at UK airport after ingesting £80k worth of cocaine
One Benjamin Nwaogwugwu, identified as a Nigerian living in the United Kingdom (UK), has been jailed after he was arrested by the police at Manchester airport for swallowing cocaine “worth £80,000”.
According to UK Daily Mail, the illicit drug was consumed by Nwaogwugwu, who claimed to have been hired by Colombian drug barons, at a hotel in South America before he flew to Paris and then returned to the UK.
The 43-year-old was said to have pretended to be a Liverpool fan returning to the UK after watching the UEFA Champions League final — which held on May 28, 2022 in Paris — when police saw him grimacing in pain at the airport.
It took two days for him to pass out the drugs from his bowels, and after analysis, it was discovered that the cocaine has a ““purity of up to 89%” after an examination was done on 19 packages.
According to the report, Nwaogwugwu, said to be married with three children, said some persons threatened to harm his family members in Nigeria if he didn’t transport the drugs.
“The defendant was told if he did not do this, he and his family would be harmed and was threatened. There was a total of 100 packages but the defendant could only swallow 79 and was vomiting blood so had to stop. He was taken to the airport and flown back to France, then onto Manchester,” a statement detailing his plea reads.
“The defendant was under significant pressure to commit this offence but accepts this was not duress. The defendant did not stand to profit financially from this activity.”
He was arrested on June 1, 2022, and jailed for four years and two months after he pleaded guilty to cocaine importation.
Tina Landale, the presiding judge, reportedly said despite Nwaogwugwu’s “clean” record, measures must be taken to “prevent criminals from taking on these types of crimes”.
“You became involved in an enterprise where you attempted to bring cocaine into Manchester,” the judge was quoted as saying.
“You cooperated with it and then you tried to lie your way out of it. Drug smuggling is a vile, vile trade and it’s clear that these criminals prey on the vulnerable and you were exploited.
“Up to now, you had been making a positive contribution to the community and it is clear you are a man of good character and that you care for your family. However, this is an extremely serious offence and there must be a deterrence to prevent criminals from taking on these types of crimes.”
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