When the World Health Organization announced the COVID-19 outbreak as a global pandemic in March of 2020, Olaolu Alabi was just getting his fraudster groove on, developing his skills as a business identity thief. Alabi had developed multiple schemes using stolen business emails and fraudulent invoices and was able to steal over $1 million from victims’ businesses, by making them think they were paying debts. With disastrous results. One community college lost $293,565, based on Alabi’s fraudulent email addresses purporting to be from one of its vendors. The emails advised that the vendor was no longer accepting checks for payment and provided wiring instructions, into a bank account controlled by Alabi. Alabi then transferred the funds to other accounts and purchased cashier’s checks. Eventually, the real vendor reached out to the community college about the overdue amount and the community college then realized it had been defrauded, causing a significant hardship for the community college.
Fraud skills are transferable, so when the world shut down in March of 2020, Alabi didn’t change tactics. He just changed the targets. From March 2020 to August 2020, Alabi filed and received over $500,000 in fraudulent Unemployment Insurance claims using stolen personal identifying information of other individuals. Alabi also used the stolen identities to obtain fake passports and backup documentation to be used for his own aliases. In addition, Alabi created limited liability companies which were used in the fraud schemes to hide the conspirators’ identities and frustrate the efforts of financial institutions and law enforcement.
Alabi will be unable to focus on his next target for a while. On June 2, 2023, Alabi was sentenced to 66 months in prison along with full restitution of $1.5 million for all his schemes.
Shout out to The District of Maryland Strike Force is one of three strike forces established throughout the United States by the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute COVID-19 fraud. Great job with this case.
Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Man sentenced to 5+ years in federal prison for fraud and aggravated identity theft scheme” published by Fox Baltimore on June 2, 2023
A Maryland man was sentenced to over five years in federal prison for covid-19 fraud and aggravated identity theft schemes, officials say.
U.S. District Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher sentenced 40-year-old Olaolu Alabi, of Owings Mills, to 66 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release, after Alabi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft in relation to multiple financial fraud schemes. Judge Gallagher also ordered Alabi to pay a forfeiture money judgment of $500,000 and will determine the amount of restitution at a later date.