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2 Nigerians sentenced in U.S. for massive COVID-19 fraud operation



Nigerian nationals Quazeem Owolabi Adeyinka, 22, and Ayodeji Jonathan Sangode, 25, residing in Maryland, faced sentencing today for their involvement in a massive conspiracy during the COVID-19 pandemic..…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>....PROCEED.FULL.READING>>>

Nigerian nationals Quazeem Owolabi Adeyinka, 22, and Ayodeji Jonathan Sangode, 25 [PG]

U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert declared that Adeyinka received a 26-month sentence, while Sangode was sentenced to 14 months behind bars.

The duo’s conviction stems from their participation in a scheme that targeted pandemic relief funds allocated by the State of California.

Between June 2020 and July 2021, Adeyinka, Sangode, and their accomplice, Olamide Yusuf Bakare, 26, engaged in a conspiracy to file fraudulent unemployment insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims.

These deceitful applications were submitted to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) from their shared Hyattsville, Maryland, apartment, using stolen personally identifiable information (PII) of individuals not eligible for these benefits.

The elaborate ruse involved fabricating employment histories, incomes, and pandemic-related hardships on behalf of unsuspecting victims.

Once the claims were approved, the EDD transferred the funds onto debit cards administered by Bank of America. Under Bakare’s direction, Adeyinka and Sangode retrieved these cards, withdrawing substantial sums of money at ATMs for their personal gain and that of their co-conspirators.

Adeyinka alone was directly connected to the withdrawal of approximately $237,911 in fraudulent UI and PUA benefits, while Sangode accessed around $752,142 through the illicit scheme.

This case, a result of collaborative efforts by the Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General – Covid Fraud Unit, and the California EDD – Investigation Division.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Denise N. Yasinow meticulously prosecuted the case, underscoring the dedication of law enforcement agencies to bring such offenders to justice.

This landmark conviction is part of a broader initiative, the California COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Strike Force, established by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Strike Force, operating in the Eastern and Central Districts of California, is a robust, data-driven operation that identifies and prosecutes criminal organisations and transnational actors involved in large-scale pandemic relief fraud.…CONTINUE.FULL.READING>>>

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