By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
United States District Judge, Jeremy D. Kernodle, has sentenced a Nigerian to prison for federal fraud in the eastern district of Texas.
This was contained in a statement issued by US Attorney, Brit Featherston, of the eastern district of Texas.
A statement signed by the Senior Public Affairs Specialist of the US Embassy in Abuja, Aisha Gambari, on Thursday, quoted Featherston as saying that the Nigerian, Sobanke Idris Sunday Adereti, 24, pleaded guilty on October 25, 2021, to passport and attempted bank fraud.He was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison on Thursday, March 31, by Kernodle.
“According to court documents, in March 2021, Adereti presented a false passport and a falsely procured certified check (cheque) when trying to open a bank account in Flower Mound, Texas. The check (cheque) was purchased by a fraud victim who was induced into sending money to Adereti, falsely known as ‘Robinson Elijah.’ He was likely acting as a money mule to cash the victim’s checks (cheques).
“When Adereti was arrested, he had additional passports and bank statements in other names in his possession. Investigators determined that Adereti was also connected to scams related to business email compromise fraud and other government programme fraud.
“Additionally, evidence showed that Adereti was the son of a Nigerian traditional ruler and entered the United States on a visitor’s visa in 2018, which has since expired,” the statement read.
“Thanks to the keen eye of bank officials, Adereti was apprehended. Unfortunately, many of these crimes target our vulnerable elder population. It is up to all of us to share this awareness and look out for our greatest generation,”Featherston was quoted to have said.
According to the statement, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Adereti with federal violations on April 7, 2021.
“This case was investigated by the Diplomatic Security Service for the U.S. Department of State, the Flower Mound Police Department, the U.S. Small Business Administration – Office of Inspector General, the United States Secret Service, with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the eastern district of Texas,” it said.
It further stated that anyone age 60 or older who has been a victim of financial fraud can now heave a sigh of relief as there is a standby help.
“This case is part of the Department of Justice’s Elder Justice Initiative. If you or someone you know is age 60 or older and has been a victim of financial fraud, help is standing by at the National Elder Fraud Hotline: 1-833-FRAUD-11 (1-833-372-8311). This U.S. Department of Justice hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, is staffed by experienced professionals who provide personalised support to callers by assessing the needs of the victim, and identifying relevant next steps.
“Case managers will identify appropriate reporting agencies, provide information to callers to assist them in reporting, connect callers directly with appropriate agencies, and provide resources and referrals, on a case-by-case basis.
“Reporting is the first step. Reporting can help authorities identify those who commit fraud and reporting certain financial losses due to fraud as soon as possible and can increase the likelihood of recovering losses. The hotline is staffed 10am-6pm Eastern Time, Monday-Friday. English, Spanish, and other languages are available,” the statement added.