ATM cameras help FBI capture three young Nigerians who stole over $1.4 million COVID-19 unemployment benefits in the United States
Three Nigerians have been arrested by the FBI over alleged fraud in the United States of America.
Security cameras attached to Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in the United States of America helped captured the Nigerian youths who allegedly fraudulently obtained more than $1.4 million (about N580 million) jobless benefits from the states of Arizona, California, North Carolina, and Maryland.
The suspects, identified in court filings as Quazeem Owolabi Adeyinka, 20, Ayodeji Jonathan Sangode, 22, and Olamide Yusuf Bakare, were nabbed last week, with U.S. authorities saying they stole over $2.6 million in bogus unemployment insurance claims.
The suspected Internet crooks used an address in Hyattsville, Maryland, to rake in about $1.4 million in unemployment benefits from California, Arizona, Maryland and North Carolina. At least $1.2 million of the theft was received from California’s Employment Development Department alone.
The trio filed about 200 unemployment claims with California’s EDD using a single address on 75th Avenue in Hyattsville, and the department was deceived into approving 97 of the claims, according to a complaint filed by John C. Collins, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Labor.
Mr Collins said the ring was jointly investigated by the FBI, Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and state law enforcement authorities.
“Based on the size of the apartment, the investigation has concluded that a high number of UI applications associated with this address is unreasonable, and thus an indicator of fraudulent activity. “(Bank of America) records show that 142 UI claim profiles using the 75th Avenue apartment address issued a total of 175 prepaid cards from the states of Arizona, California, Maryland, and North Carolina,” Mr Collins said in the complaint filed in California.
There were several attempts to claim bogus unemployment insurance using the same address from Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas, Washington and West Virginia, court records say.
The suspects filed claims that they had lost jobs as an accountant, dance therapist, computer consultant, librarian or other occupations, and used untraceable IP addresses, the complaint said.