*Faces Fraud Charges
A Nigerian man, Olamilekan Idowu Fatade, was, on Thursday, extradited to the United States of America to be prosecution over fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.
The disclosure was made on Friday in a statement by the Department of Justice, US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York.
According o the statement, Fatade’s repatriation is in connection to allegations that he fraudulently obtained and attempted to obtain millions of dollars of medical equipment, laboratory products, computer equipment and hardware, and other merchandise from suppliers of such merchandise across the United States. This he did by allegedly impersonating, among other individuals, procurement officials of U.S. state and local governments and educational institutions.
“Fatade Idowu Olamilekan is alleged to have carried out a sprawling criminal scheme to fraudulently obtain medical equipment and other merchandise. Olamilekan allegedly identified U.S. procurement officials, including the Chief Procurement Officer for New York, to then impersonate them and use their credentials to request millions of dollars in equipment shipments from various suppliers without advance payment. Olamileken has now been extradited to the U.S. for his alleged attempt to illegally profiteer from the worldwide pandemic.” Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said.
The statement also noted that his case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Capron. However, he is expected to be presented before US Magistrate Judge James L. Cott.
“We allege Olamilekan impersonated state procurement officials during the height of the pandemic and stole critically-needed medical equipment that was in high demand and short supply. Fraud can have immediate and direct impacts on people, and we remain determined to bring those who commit it to justice.” Michael J. Driscoll, the Assistant Director-in-Charge, New York Field Office, Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI, added on Saturday.
Fatade is alleged to have, between September 2018 and September 14, 2020, particularly during the 2019 coronavirus pandemic, impersonated the Chief Procurement Officer of New York State in an attempt to fraudulently obtain medical equipment, including defibrillators. He is also alleged to have identified certain procurement officials to impersonate, using aliases in addition to a Lithuanian web hosting company, to register email accounts with domains that had slight variations from the legitimate email accounts used by procurement officials. This he did in order to impersonate those officials’ email accounts.
He allegedly used the email to impersonate a total of eight different procurement officials of state and local governments in California, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Vermont; and three other procurement officials of educational institutions located in Georgia and New York.
Fatade, 40, also received a response from a targeted supplier, provided the supplier with a purchase order containing the forged signature of the impersonated procurement official and an address for a warehouse located in the United States for delivery and storage of the equipment purchased.
In all, he is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 27 years in prison, another one count charge of interstate transportation of stolen property, which carries a maximum penalty of 17 years in prison, and extra 12 counts of aggravated theft, which carry a mandatory minimum penalty of two years in prison to be run consecutively alongside any other sentence imposed.