The FBI claims that in March 2020, at the height of COVID-19, Obasi, 29, pretended to be a representative of a medical supply company with headquarters in Indonesia and advertised ventilators for sale.
The US attorney’s office revealed that the Nigerian allegedly claimed the Indonesian company had a sizable stockpile of ventilators made by a German manufacturer in a statement on Friday.
The ventilators, which the FBI claimed didn’t exist, were allegedly purchased with $30 million wired from the State of New York.
“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 US government 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.”
The FBI further said that in order to earn more than $1 million in September 2018, Obasi and a co-conspirator presented fictitious work-from-home positions to US residents.
“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,” the statement added.
“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 FBI also revealed that in June 2020, Obasi and his accomplices applied for and were granted more than $135,000 in the COVID-19 economic injury disaster loan by using stolen identities of US residents.
Obasi is wanted by the FBI and faces a maximum penalty of 621 years in prison if found and found guilty.
Here is the statement on their official Twitter page HERE
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