Hurricane Irma Scam: 43-Year-Old Nigerian Man Forges US Passport To Defraud America Of $119,000

A Nigerian man has been arrested in Houston, Texas and charged with fraud, forgery and stealing over his attempt to dupe United States to the tune of $119,000 home disaster loan in Florida in the recent Hurricane Irma.

Prosecutors say Oluseyi Jeremiah Olagoke Adebayo, who came to America on a B1/B2 Visa and outstayed his visitor’s stay, has been charged with Hurricane Irma-related fraud for trying to obtain a nearly $119,000 home disaster loan in Florida.

Court records confirm that Adebayo was indicted on March 8 and faced a federal court hearing soon in Houston. He has been charged with fraud in connection with a major disaster, forgery or false use of a passport and aggravated identity theft.

Adebayo reportedly used innocent American man’s Identification card (ID) to apply online for a Small Business Administration loan for property in Orlando, Florida, that he does not own. He was arrested after trying to pick up the check last month at a post office in Houston.

It is recalled that Irma struck Florida last September,.

PRESS STATEMENT:

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Nigerian Man Using False Identification Charged with Disaster Fraud
HOUSTON ‐ A man using a false identification in a scheme to obtain a fraudulent government loan for damage sustained from Hurricane Irma is set to appear in federal court, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

A grand jury in Houston returned the three-count indictment against Oluseyi Jeremiah Olagoke Adebayo aka Jeremiah Adebayo Oluyesi, 43, a Nigerian man who illegally resided in Houston, on March 8, 2018. He is set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina Bryan today at 10:00 a.m.

According to the indictment, from October 2017 to February 2018, Adebayo used the identification of an Orlando, Florida, resident in an attempt to obtain a fraudulent disaster home loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in connection to Hurricane Irma.

The SBA provides long-term low-interest loans to businesses and non-profit organizations in the aftermath of a declared disaster. Loan proceeds are to be used solely for the repair or replacement of real estate, inventory, supplies, machinery and equipment damaged during a declared disaster. Hurricane Irma impacted the Gulf Coast region, including the state of Florida, and was declared a disaster in September 2017.

An application was allegedly submitted to the SBA in October 2017 for a $118,900 home disaster loan which contained several potential fraud indicators. Further, an individual in Houston had attempted to collect on the loan for the Florida property, according to the indictment.

Adebayo appeared at a U.S. Post Office in Houston on Feb. 7, 2018, to obtain the fraudulent loan disbursement check, according to the charges. Adebayo allegedly used a counterfeit passport with the identification of the Florida resident to obtain the check. At that time, the indictment alleges he was also found in possession of a counterfeit U.S. visa.

Adebayo is charged with one count of fraud in connection with a major disaster and forgery or false use of a passport for which he faces up to 20 and 10 years in federal prison, respectively. He also faces a mandatory two years upon conviction of aggravated identity theft which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed. All counts also carry a potential $250,000 maximum fine.

SBA-Office of Inspector General and U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Day is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Topic(s):
Disaster Fraud
Component(s):
USAO – Texas, Southern
Updated March 16, 2018

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