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A Sure Thing

Covid-image
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Say what you want about Anuli Okeke, but she was a sure thing when it came to approving COVID-19 Loans. As vice president and manager of a New York branch of Popular Bank, Okeke and her co-conspirators, both from within and outside the bank, fabricated loan and tax documents in a scheme to fraudulently obtain millions of dollars from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite knowing that the PPP and EIDL applications contained false statements, and helping applicants make those false statements, Okeke signed each and every PPP loan application that passed her desk on behalf of the bank and submitted them for approval. Once the loan proceeds were disbursed to the borrowers, Okeke and her co-conspirators took kickbacks from the loan proceeds. Not to be left out, Odeke also submitted her own fraudulent EIDL loan.

Okeke stole $3.4 million from the U.S. taxpayer. And she seemed proud of her scheme or at least she saw the value of patting herself on the back. Odeke boasted about her earnings from the scheme in handwritten notes found at her desk at work. Odeke wrote “I am making more than enough money,” “money comes to me easily,” “I am grateful I make $15k every month,” and “I have an extra $5,000 every month.” The power of uplifting language sure does wonders. Hope she can keep up the self-affirmations in prison. On June 19, 2024, Okeke was found guilty of conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy.

Kudos to the Office’s International Narcotics and Money who handled this case.

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Bronx banker convicted of stealing COVID relief funds” published by the Bronx Times on June 20, 2024.

Anuli Okeke — the former vice president and manager of the 125th Street New York branch of Popular Bank — was booked for conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering conspiracy by a federal jury in Brooklyn on June 18. The DOJ said the charges arose out of the Bronx woman’s scheme to fraudulently obtain approximately $3.4 million of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program dollars during the “height” of the pandemic.

According to the DOJ, the investigation into Okeke’s wrongdoing revealed that she and seven co-conspirators from both within and outside the bank fabricated loan and tax documents to help them steal PPP and EIDL funds.

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