The Federal Bureau of Investigation or FBI is trying to arrest a Nigerian mannamed Chidozie Collins Obasi.
The Nigerian is charged with cheating US hospitals out of $31 million by allegedly offering for sale COVID-19 ventilators that didn't exist.
It also said that the suspect ran the plan out of Nigeria with the help of people from other countries from September 2018 to June 2020.
Through a complex fraud scheme, Obasi and his associates are accused of receiving more than $31,000,000, most of which came from the State of New York.
A spam email campaign that advertised fraudulent "work from home" employment is where the scheme described in the indictment allegedly got its start in September 2018.
When someone responded to the fake job offer, Obasi or a co-conspirator pretended to be a representative of a real business.
Usually a supposed medical equipment supplier based outside of the United States, and offered the person a job as the business's U.S. representative with duties like collecting on overdue invoices.
The new "employee" cashed the checks, received a fee, and wired the remaining funds to a foreign bank account presumably held by the fictitious company.
An accomplice in Canada then delivered the new 'employee' counterfeit checks purportedly from clients of the company.
In this way, Obasi and his accomplices made more than $1 million.
In 2020, Obasi went one step further with his act of being a salesman for an Indonesian company that sold ventilators.
Soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and ventilators were in high demand, around March 2020, Obasi pretended to be a representative of an Indonesian medical supply company and offered ventilators for sale.
He also said that he had a lot of ventilators made by a company in Germany.
The State of New York is said to have been tricked into sending more than $30 million to buy ventilators that didn't exist.
This is because Obasi convinced a medical equipment broker in the U.S. to broker sales of these ventilators that didn't exist.
He persisted in using the same ruse to target other potential clients, including hospitals.
Later, around June 2020, Obasi and his friends took advantage of the EID Loan program by applying for and getting more than $135,000 in EID Loan proceeds using stolen identities of U.S. citizens.
Obasi, who is currently at large, is accused of, according to the indictment sheet:
One count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, six counts of mail fraud, and 16 counts of wire fraud,
If proven guilty, he may receive a term of up to 21 years in prison, five years of supervised release, a fine of $5,750,000, and be forced to pay back the whole amount of the more than $31,000,000 he is accused of defrauding.
According to the FBI, Obasi is a fugitive and faces a maximum term of 621 years in prison if he is found guilty.