According to The PUNCH, a United States grand jury in Seattle has indicted a Nigerian, Chukwuemeka Onyegbula, for alleged impersonation and multiple wire fraud.
Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa Gorman announced this on Thursday in an official statement from the US Ministry of Justice, stating that the suspect is being detained in Nigeria.
An investigation has revealed that Onyegbula works as an IT engineer with Pan Ocean Oil Corporation Nigeria Limited.
The indictment and criminal complaint on June 6, 2021 revealed that Onyegbula under the alias ‘Phillip Carter’ had filed for fraudulent unemployment insurance in 27 American states, earning nearly $290,000 in the process.
The states include Washington, Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Nevada, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wisconsin.
“Onyegbula allegedly used variations of a single e-mail address in a manner intended to evade automatic detection by fraud systems,” the statement partly read.
“By using this practice, Onyegbula made it appear that each claim was connected to a different email account. The email account used for fraud was linked to Onyegbula through various electronic evidences such as phone numbers and IP addresses.
“The email account contained information such as a visa application receipt, banking information and homework assignments by Onyegbula’s son. The cyber evidence also includes dozens of tax return information for U.S. citizens,” the statement explained further.
As of the time of filing this report, the case is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys Cindy Chang and Seth Wilkinson. The Federal Bureau of Information, with assistance from the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, is also investigating the case.