May 28, 2022
A man in handcuffs
  • A Kenyan is facing 10 counts of wire fraud and one of conspiracy for allegedly attempting to defraud a county government in the United States.

    The 41-year-old is in custody for allegedly engaging in a scheme to deceive and defraud the government of Bernalillo County in New Mexico, United States of Ksh51 million.

    He was arraigned in a federal court where he was charged with ten counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. 

    According to the indictment and other court records, from October through December of 2019, the Kenyan – who was in New York on an immigrant visa – allegedly engaged in a scheme to deceive and defraud the government of Bernalillo County, New Mexico.

    A man in handcuffs

    According to the court documents, Bernalillo County received an email feigning to come from a legitimate vendor, CDW Government Inc., which had provided products and services to the county for which payment was due. 

    The fake email included a complete automated clearinghouse (ACH) form used by Bernalillo County to designate or change automated payments electronically to vendor bank accounts.

    The email also included an image of a voided check showing the same routing and account numbers listed on the ACH form. The email indicated a telephone number that was portrayed as a contact number for CDW but belonged to the suspect.

    Between October and December of 2019, the county sent payments totalling Ksh51,492,619 to the suspect’s account. He allegedly distributed a portion of the funds to his co-conspirators.

    “As our technologies and banking systems evolve, so do the strategies of thieves and fraudsters,†said Fred J. Federici, United States Attorney for the District of New Mexico. 

    “For this reason, we continue to encourage heightened vigilance with respect to unsolicited email requests. The responsibility for these crimes rests entirely with the perpetrators. However, we can each do our part by taking every precaution, such as scrutinizing email addresses and verifying contact information. We will do our part by prosecuting those who attempt to deceive our citizens and institutions.â€

    “When governments are victimized by fraud, especially one as large as what Bernalillo County experienced, taxpayers and residents are the ones who can get cheated,†Raul Bujanda, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Albuquerque Field Office, stated. 

    “The FBI will use all its resources to go after those who would steal funds that could provide critical services like public safety and health care. We also want to reiterate the importance of government agencies and businesses learning as much as they can about internet fraud and how to protect themselves.â€

    An indictment is only an allegation. A defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted, the Kenyan national faces up to 20 years in prison for each count.

    US-based Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
    steal thieves suspect

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