11th September, 2022
A 29-year-old Nigerian Chidozie Collins Obasi has been declared wanted for defrauding the state of New of York of over $30 million through series of fraudulent activities involving his accomplices in Canada and other parts of the world.
According to the notice put out by the Philadelphia Office of the US Federal Federal Bureau of Investigation, Obasi who lived in Nigeria and accomplices obtained more than $31 million through a 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.
According to FBI, Obasi and his accomplices began their fraud scheme in September 2018, with a spam email campaign that offered phony “work from home” jobs through which they successfully scammed their victims of at least one million dollars.
On how they perpetrated the fraud, the FBI said, “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.
But Obasi and his accomplices shifted to COVID- 19 fraud in March 2020, after the pandemic hit the United States.
They began to pose as representatives of an Indonesian company dealing in then much sought after ventilators manufactured by a German company whose headquarters was in Telford, PA.
Through this scheme, they were able to steal $30 million from the state of New York and some hospitals, FBI said.
“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.
that Obasi and his co-conspirators also 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 in June 2020.
“The Indictment alleges that Obasi perpetrated this fraud from Nigeria, with the help of co-conspirators in Canada and elsewhere. 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.
“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.
According to FBI, 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.