Nigerian National Facing Federal Charges for Role in Social Media Elder Scam with Losses of More Than $474,000 | USAO-MD

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Greenbelt, Maryland – A prison criticism was filed right this moment in U.S. District Court docket in Maryland charging Oluwaseyi Akinyemi a/okay/a “Paddy Linkin”, a/okay/a “Joseph Kadin”, age 34, of Hyattsville, Maryland, for the federal prices of mail fraud, tried mail fraud, and mail and wire fraud conspiracy, in connections with a sophisticated payment fraud scheme utilizing social media to focus on aged victims and inflicting losses of $474,145.07.

The prison criticism was introduced by Performing United States Legal professional for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Particular Agent in Cost James R. Mancuso of Homeland Safety Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; and Interim Chief Hector Velez of the Prince George’s County Police Division.

In accordance with the affidavit filed in help of the prison criticism, from July 10, 2018 to April 29, 2019, Akinyemi was a member of the a fraud group (the AFG), a bunch of Nigerian nationals who engaged in a social media-based superior payment fraud schemes concentrating on aged people.  Allegedly, AFG members perpetrated a monetary scheme by which they created fictitious social media accounts to encourage aged victims to ship money to cowl “taxes” or “charges” with the intention to obtain substantial monetary awards.  The affidavit alleges that, in some cases, the AFG created fraudulent social media accounts of associates of the victims, making the victims imagine they had been speaking with people they knew and trusted.  As soon as the victims displayed a stage of curiosity, the AFG allegedly opened a brand new account or persona (“the Closers”) to hold out the fraud scheme.  At occasions, the Closers fraudulently posed as actual or fictitious authorities businesses providing the victims monetary awards in alternate for related taxes and charges.  The affidavit additional alleges that after victims despatched funds to people in Maryland and elsewhere, AFG members forwarded the victims’ funds to co-conspirators in Nigeria.  The affidavit alleges that Akinyemi is among the people that obtained victims’ money or present card funds via mail providers.

As detailed within the affidavit, on April 16, 2019, the Prince George’s County Police Division intercepted a bundle despatched to “Paddy Linkin” at Akinyemi’s deal with.  The bundle was discovered to include $30,000 in money wrapped in cash bands and hid inside two stuffed animal bears.  The cash was seized by legislation enforcement.  As detailed within the prison criticism, Sufferer 1 was recognized because the sender and was subsequently interviewed by legislation enforcement.  In accordance with the affidavit, Sufferer 1 obtained an software for a purported federal authorities program from a person that the sufferer believed was a “good friend” on a social media platform, as a result of the sender’s profile image matched that of a person with whom Sufferer 1 was associates.  The “good friend” vouched for this system.  Sufferer 1 was allegedly contacted by a Nearer, who suggested that Sufferer 1 was authorized for $100,000 in grant funds however wanted to pay taxes to obtain the grant funds.  As soon as Sufferer 1 despatched funds for the “taxes”, she obtained a “Certificates of Completion” with the Inner Income Service seal and one other certificates bearing her full identify and the textual content: “Federal Authorities Grants for the sum of $5,000,000.”  Sufferer 1 was then notified that the Central Intelligence Company was going to confiscate the grant funds if he/she didn’t ship extra money to cowl the taxes on the awarded grant. Following the Nearer’s particular directions, Sufferer 1 allegedly despatched a complete of roughly $70,000 to $80,000 in money to “Paddy Linkin” in six packages addressed to Akinyemi’s residence in addition to to an deal with in Midland, Texas, together with the $30,000 seized by the Prince George’s County Law enforcement officials.  In accordance with the affidavit, Sufferer 1 withdrew funds from a retirement account and obtained a financial institution mortgage with the intention to pay the “taxes” believing that he/she would obtain federal grants.

Not less than 13 victims have allegedly been defrauded of a complete of $474,145.07 via the AFG scheme. 

If convicted, Akinyemi faces a most sentence of 20 years for every depend of mail fraud, tried mail fraud and mail fraud conspiracy.  Precise sentences for federal crimes are sometimes lower than the utmost penalties. A federal district court docket choose will decide any sentence after bearing in mind the U.S. Sentencing Tips and different statutory elements.  At right this moment’s preliminary look in U.S. District Court docket in Baltimore, U.S. Justice of the Peace Decide Timothy J. Sullivan ordered that Akinyemi be detained.

A prison criticism just isn’t a discovering of guilt.  A person charged by prison criticism is presumed harmless except and till confirmed responsible at some later prison proceedings. 

Performing United States Legal professional Jonathan F. Lenzner recommended the HSI and the Prince George’s County Police Division for his or her work within the investigation.  Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rajeev R. Raghavan and Erin B. Pulice, who’s prosecuting this case.

The Division of Justice has an interactive software for elders who’ve been financially exploited to assist decide to which company they need to report their incident, and likewise a senior rip-off alert web site.  Victims are inspired to file a criticism on-line with the FBI’s Web Crime Grievance Middle at this web site or by calling 1-800-225-5324.  Elder fraud complaints could also be filed with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or at 877-FTC-HELP.

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