Nigerian Fraudster Indicted for Stealing Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Funds

The news of Olanrewaju A. Beyioku’s arrest in November was reported in local news and in one large news outlet—the Chicago Tribune.  The story in the suburbs section of the Tribune does not mention the ‘new American’ status of the “Indiana man” the feds indicted in December.

However, the Nigerians are not so shy about identifying him as Nigerian.  See LailasNews.com and don’t miss the comments where Nigerians say he brings shame to Nigeria.

nigerian defrauds red cross
Olanrewaju A. Beyioku

You have to hand it to them, Nigerians are clever scammers.

I’m posting a good bit of the Dept. of Justice press release from December 20th (hat tip: Diana) so you can see how the 38-year-old Beyioku was one of many who together scammed the American Red Cross out of more than a million dollars intended for Hurricane Harvey victims.

From the Department of Justice, Northern District of Indiana,

HAMMOND- Olanrewajua A. Beyioku, 38, of Gary, Indiana, was charged in an indictment with wire fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Kirsch.

U.S. Attorney Kirsch said, “At a time when individuals were going through some of the worst times in their lives, Mr. Beyioku seized the opportunity to enrich himself with hurricane relief funds meant for those who lost homes and businesses. My Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to investigate those who defraud the government for personal gain.”

The Indictment alleges that, in September and October 2017, Beyioku, a.k.a. “Papa Smith Morgan,” working in conjunction with others, known and unknown to the United States Attorney, devised a scheme to defraud the American Red Cross (“Red Cross”) by obtaining reference codes intended for nine different households directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey, and by using those codes to obtain $3,600 in hurricane relief funds.

[….]

One type of federal disaster relief was a one-time cash payment of $400 through the Red Cross. The Red Cross established a link on their website where hurricane victims could apply for the cash assistance. Hurricane victims used their email addresses to apply. They entered personally identifiable information, including their address. If the address fell within a designated disaster area, The Red Cross forwarded the application electronically to an entity referred to herein as “Company A.”

Company A vetted the information, and electronically forwarded it to “Company B.” Company B then created an eleven-digit alphanumeric code. The code was then sent to the applicant with instructions to redeem the code at a Wal-Mart Money Center or Customer Service Desk.

In early September 2017, The Red Cross received reports of ineligible people redeeming multiple reference codes at various Wal-Mart stores across the United States. The Red Cross reported this to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (“NCDF”). With assistance from Wal-Mart Global Security Investigators, The Red Cross identified over 3,300 instances of fraudulently obtained reference codes. The loss to The Red Cross is more than 1.3 million dollars.

 

 

See the remainder of the press release by clicking here.  The feds don’t identify him as Nigerian either.

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So why didn’t this story make the national news?  Because it is not a warm and fuzzy story about New Americans!  And, by the way, which LEGAL immigration program did Beyioku use to get in here in the first place?

 

Are You Writing a Blog Where You Live?

Two weeks in to this new blog—Frauds, Crooks and Criminals—I’m reminded of all the great work many of you do researching issues where you live, national issues too!

But, are you getting that important information out on a local or state website?  If not, why not!

You know that information is power, right!  However, it has little value if it doesn’t reach outside your front door or go much farther than your facebook friends’ computers.

free speech zone map
They will have a harder time shutting down free speech if you all are writing!

Believe me, it is not rocket science to set up a wordpress website, or some other hosting site.  I do think facebook is a good way to get your research/ideas out more widely, but facebook has limitations and will increasingly give you problems.

And, besides, on facebook, I don’t think there is any way to categorize and make available the information you have unearthed for someone to find months or years later (correct me if I am wrong).

Which brings me to the issue of comments here at Frauds and Crooks.  Believe me! Most people will not read comments longer than my original posts! Heck, I hardly have time to read them!  (See my comment on commenting under the header.)

Budding investigators!  Please, please, please, set up a website/blog of your own!

Give your blog a theme, it could be on the vast issue of immigration (obviously my passion), or focus on your geographic location. Write a blog about what is going on in your city or state (LOL! compete with your Left leaning local paper that won’t even publish your Letters to the Editor!).

Plug away at it a little bit every day and you will be surprised at the body of information you will have compiled in a few short months.

The speech police will have a much harder time silencing us if all of you are writing!

Let me know when you’ve got that new blog of your own up and running!

Endnote: If you are new to Frauds and Crooks, see my welcome post here.