US Jails 2 Nigerians For Scams


Two Nigerians have been jailed in the United States for fraud-related offences. One  was sentenced to 14 years in the US federal prison for his role in an international  lottery scam that bilked America’s retirees out of more than $2.7 million. The other  Nigerian woman was jailed for medicare fraud.

A U.S. District Court judge on Monday sentenced Emmanuel Onwuzulike, who also used  the name “Tony Moore,” to the 168-month prison term and also ordered him to pay full  restitution to his victims.

Prosecutors argued that Onwuzulike was part of an organization that targeted at  least 52 victims around the world from 2004 through 2006, including several Orange  County residents.Bogus businesses reportedly contacted potential victims to tell  them they had won a lottery prize but that in order to collect their “winnings,”  they had to call telemarketers in Spain or England. The telemarketers informed the  victims that they would need to pay taxes or other fees to receive the prizes, which  never materialized, prosecutors said.

In June 2006, an Orange County resident received a letter indicating that she had  won $815,950 from the Euromillones Spanish Sweepstake Lottery but that she had to  pay a two percent tax in order to receive the winnings. The woman wired $16,319 to a  bank account controlled by Onwuzulike, prosecutors said, but was never sent any  money.

Another Orange County resident received a similar letter, wiring $39,241 after being  told she had won $3.8 million in the Australian lottery. A third Southern California  victim, a woman from the San Fernando Valley, lost her home after sending Onwuzulike  $368,000, prosecutors said. The Metropolitan Police Service, which joined the FBI in  investigating the scam, carried out a search warrant in August 2006 that turned up  evidence regarding the lottery business in Onwuzulike’s vehicle and his London home.  In July, he pleaded guilty to a one-count charge of mail fraud.

Another Nigerian, a woman woman was sentenced to 15 months in prison and three years  of supervised release for her role in a Medicare fraud scheme, announced the  Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services (HHS).

On March 1, 2010, Linda Eteimo Ere Kendabie, 29, of Nigeria, pleaded guilty to  conspiring to commit health care fraud. Kendabie was sentenced yesterday by U.S.  District Court Judge Vanessa D. Gilmore of the Southern District of Texas.

Kendabie was also ordered to pay $461,244 in restitution to Medicare. According to  court documents, Kendabie worked as an administrative assistant for B.I. Medical  Supply LLC, a Houston-area durable medical equipment (DME) company.

Kendabie admitted that B.I. Medical billed Medicare for expensive, rigid orthotics  and braces that were packaged together and referred to as an arthritis kit, at a  cost of approximately $4,000 per kit, when, in fact, they supplied Medicare  beneficiaries with different, less expensive products. Kendabie also admitted that  the equipment supplied was not medically necessary. In total, B.I.  Medical  submitted approximately $846,000 in fraudulent claims to Medicare. On Sept. 7, 2010,  Modupe Babanumi, a patient recruiter for B.I. Medical Supply, was sentenced to 12  months and a day in prison. Babanumi pleaded guilty to one-count charge of  conspiracy to commit health care fraud on March 1, 2010.

Today’s sentencing was announced by Assistant Attorney-General of the Criminal  Division Lanny A. Breuer; U.S. Attorney José Angel Moreno of the Southern District  of Texas; Special Agent-in-Charge Richard C. Powers of the FBI’s Houston Field  Office; Special Agent-in-Charge Mike Fields of the Dallas Regional Office of HHS  Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations; and Texas Attorney  General, Greg Abbott.

This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Katherine Houston, Charles D. Reed,  Sam S. Sheldon and Jennifer Saulino, of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The  case was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the U.S.  Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas and the Criminal Division’s  Fraud Section.

Since their inception in March 2007, Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations in seven  districts have obtained indictments of more than 825 individuals who collectively  have falsely billed the Medicare programme for more than $2 billion.

In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in  conjunction with the HHS-OIG, are taking steps to increase accountability and  decrease the presence of fraudulent providers.

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