12:57 am - Wednesday September 26, 2018

REVEALING: ‘NIGERIAN Conman, BABAJIDE FADEYIBI Behind AMERICA’S Mystery Shopper Fraud of $1.3Million Tax Payers’ Fund’-United States Federal Agents …Instructs Gang-members to cash Cashier’s Check, Money Orders, Western Union at their Banks *Orchestrates an international fraud ring that stole from 500 innocent Americans * ‘Fadeyibi, the alleged ringleader, one of his co-defendants, Oyeyemi Arogundade hiding in Nigeria’-United States Court Document * Six other co-defendants have been convicted of crimes relating to this alleged fraud BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

REVEALING:
‘NIGERIAN Conman, BABAJIDE FADEYIBI Behind AMERICA’S Mystery Shopper Fraud of $1.3Million Tax Payers’ Fund’-United States Federal Agents

…Instructs Gang-members to cash Cashier’s Check, Money Orders, Western Union at their Banks

*Orchestrates an international fraud ring that stole from 500 innocent Americans
* ‘Fadeyibi, the alleged ringleader, one of his co-defendants, Oyeyemi Arogundade hiding in Nigeria’-United States Court Document
* Six other co-defendants have been convicted of crimes relating to this alleged fraud

BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A NOTORIOUS NIGERIAN CRIMINAL, BABAJIDE FADEYIBI hiding in Nigeria in company of his few of his aides have been dubbed ‘the face behind series of mystery shopping in United States’ that have led to a huge loss of $1.3Million American tax payers’ funds in recent times.

Naija Standard gathered that Fadeyibi runs an international criminal gang from Nigeria that is daily exploiting unsuspecting Americans in the guise of “mystery shopper” fraud that netted almost $1.3 million, as confirmed by federal agents.

They were called “mystery shoppers,” but they didn’t really shop. In exchange for money, they were supposed to cash cashier’s checks and money orders at their banks and then wire part of the lump sum to other people – ostensibly to evaluate transmission services like Western Union and MoneyGram. Few innocent Americans were also deceived, recruited into believing they are into a legitimate business, whereas it was all lies.

Federal agents claim Fadeyibi orchestrated an international fraud ring that stole almost $1.3 million from almost 500 innocent people, including several living in South Hampton Roads.

Lawrence Cake of Virginia Beach, a former restaurant manager who was familiar with mystery shoppers corroborated this scam, when he reportedly said: “It all looked very legitimate, my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach when I realized what I’d done” said and didn’t think twice when he saw the scam email solicitation pop into his inbox. The move cost him about $4,000.

Fadeyibi, the alleged ringleader, remains at large, as does one of his co-defendants, Oyeyemi Arogundade. Court documents identify both men as living in Nigeria. Six other co-defendants have been convicted of crimes relating to the alleged fraud.

Hafeez Odoffin of Chicago was sentenced recently in U.S. District Court in Newport News to nine years and two months in prison, and Zoelithia Williams of Smyrna, Tenn., was sentenced to eight years and four months. Christie Easter of Fort Worth, Texas, was sentenced last month to almost nine years.

According to court documents, federal agents launched an investigation in 2012 into a large fraud scheme that appeared to have its roots in Nigeria. The scheme continued until 2014, and the indictment was returned in May 2016.

The probe determined that the fraudsters recruited people over the internet to serve as mystery shoppers, who would then use their own bank accounts to cash counterfeit cashier’s checks and postal money orders.

Dispatchers like Williams and Easter would collect interested applicants’ personal information and then place it on counterfeit cashier’s checks and money orders to be mailed out.

After cashing the fakes, the mystery shoppers were supposed to wire some of the money to other people. That would often happen before the financial institution realized the truth, retroactively canceled the transaction and recouped the money from the shoppers’ accounts.

Cake said he was on his third batch of money orders before his bank informed him one was a fake. He said he immediately tried to contact the company to find out what had happened, only to realize too late it was all a con.

Most of the counterfeit checks and money orders were made in Nigeria, based on legitimate versions obtained in the United States. Officials alleged Arogundade was behind most of the counterfeiting. The case was investigated by the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the U.S. Secret Service.

Cake said he didn’t know the fraud had connections to Nigeria until the feds got involved. He said all the addresses he knew about were in Texas and the Philippines. And if it had been, he probably would have thought twice about doing anything in light of all the “Nigerian prince” scams he’s heard about over the years.

Cake urged anyone else looking to make a few extra bucks to make sure they understand exactly what they are doing and who they are working for. Don’t do everything by email and text, he said. “Talk to somebody,” he said. “I never talked to anybody, and I certainly wish I had.”

Babajide and his gangs should be arrested, prosecuted and made to face various jail terms in prison.

#Additional reports by Pilotsonline

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