The fraud was carried out from Nigeria with the help of co-conspirators abroad from September 2018 to June 2020.
A Nigerian, Chidozie Collins Obasi, has been declared wanted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation over $30m fraud.
Obasi defrauded the New York State more than $30 million by posing as a ventilator seller during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 29-year-old, according to a statement on the website of the US Justice Department seen by The Nation, noted that the fraud was carried out from Nigeria with the help of co-conspirators abroad from September 2018 to June 2020.
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“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 outstanding invoices
“An accomplice 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. Obasi and his co-conspirators obtained more than $1 million in this manner.
“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,” the statement added.
With all of these allegations, Obasi faces a maximum sentence of 621 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a $5,750,000 fine.