US: FBI hunting for Nigerian, 29, who scammed New York State US$30 million

NEW YORK— A 29-year-old Nigerian has been interdicted in the United States for defrauding the State of New York to the tune of US$30 million.

According to a release from the US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania that Chidozie Collins Obasi, was charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

He is also facing “six counts of mail fraud, and 16 counts of wire fraud, all stemming from a complicated, evolving fraud scheme that initially targeted Americans through a spam email campaign offering illegitimate “work from home” jobs.

The release added that during the COVID-19 pandemic, the accused “shifted to targeting US hospitals and medical systems by offering non-existent ventilators for sale beginning in March 2020, and finally shifted again in June 2020 to using stolen identity information of American citizens to apply for and obtain Economic Injury Disaster Loans (“EID Loans”).

He is said to have coordinated the 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.

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.


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