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Nigerian man nabbed by FBI over $1m fraud, jailed 46 months

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 Nigerian man nabbed by FBI over 1m fraud jailed 46 months

A Nigerian man has been sentenced to federal prison for fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston today.

Shalom Olumide Ayotunde, 39, pleaded guilty on July 1, 2021, to passport fraud, false claim to U.S. citizenship, wire fraud, and false statement to a financial institution, and was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III. Ayotunde was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,067,000.

According to court documents, in June 2018, Ayotunde provided false identifying information in his application for a U.S. passport, and in doing so, also falsely claimed to be a U.S. citizen.

Ayotunde was also involved in falsifying information in connection with numerous applications for Payment Protection Program loans, and ultimately received more than $1 million in fraudulent PPP loan proceeds. Additionally, evidence showed that Ayotunde was part of a conspiracy to defraud companies through business email compromise schemes and acted as a money mule when he knowingly received and transferred proceeds of fraudulent activity.

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Evidence showed that Ayotunde received or attempted to receive more than $800,000 in stolen funds. A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Ayotunde with federal violations on Nov. 13, 2020.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.

The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of State- Diplomatic Security Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Camelia Lopez.

(Peoples Gazette)

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