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Nigerian jailed for fraud scheme targeting elderly victims, ordered to $486,119.07 in restitution to his victims

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U.S. District Judge Theodore D. Chuang has jailed a Nigerian man, Oluwaseyi Akinyemi, a.k.a “Paddy Linkin”, a.k.a “Joseph Kadin”, for elderly fraud and Covid-19 Unemployment fraud scheme

Akinyemi, 35, of Hyattsville, Maryland, was sentenced on Tuesday, July 12, 2022, to eight years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release for two counts of mail fraud relating to a social media advanced fee fraud scheme that targeted elderly victims.

Judge Chuang also ordered Akinyemi to pay $486,119.07 in restitution to his victims.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Acting Special Agent in Charge Selwyn Smith of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Acting Special Agent in Charge Troy Springer, of the Washington Regional Office, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General; and Chief Malik Aziz of the Prince George’s County Police Department.

“Akinyemi committed elder fraud and CARES Act COVID-19 fraud, which are both priorities for this Office,” said United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron.

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“Akinyemi not only took advantage of a nursing care patient, a national health crisis, and an employment crisis, but he also caused financial harm to at least 13 elderly victims,”

According to his guilty plea, from July 10, 2018 to April 29, 2019, Akinyemi and at least one co-conspirator engaged in a social media based elder fraud scheme.

Members of the conspiracy targeted elderly victims on social media platforms, representing themselves as agents of both real and fictitious government agencies and offered victims non-existent financial rewards if the victims first sent cash, money orders, or gift cards to cover associated “taxes and fees.”

Conspirators even impersonated social media accounts of the victim’s friends to vouch for their fraudulent financial scheme. Believing that they would receive a financial reward, the victims sent cash, money orders, gift cards, and other valuable items through the mail to

Akinyemi as well as other members of the conspiracy in order to obtain a financial reward. Akinyemi, who lived in Landover, Maryland at the time, received packages under the aliases of Paddy Linkin,” “Flex,” “Joseph Kadin,” “Anna Marcos,” and other aliases.

After receiving the fraudulently obtained funds, Akinyemi kept a portion of the funds and provided the rest of the fraudulently obtained cash to co-conspirators in Nigeria. Akinyemi admitted that this advance fee fraud scheme defrauded 13 victims from around the United States, ranging in age from 47 to 78 years old, of a total of $478,145.07.

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For example, Victim 1, who was 78 years old and lived in Texas, received an application via social media to apply to a purported federal government grant program. The application was accompanied by a message from a person whom Victim 1 believed was a friend, vouching for the program.

Victim 1 was told by members of the conspiracy that he had been approved for $100,000 in grant funds but would need to pay taxes before he could receive the grant funds. As instructed by members of the conspiracy, Victim 1 sent multiple packages of money, including to Akinyemi.

To induce Victim 1 to continue to send money, members of the conspiracy sent Victim 1 electronic “certificates,” including a “Certificate of Completion” bearing the Internal Revenue Service seal, stating that it was from the “Federal and State Tax Institutes.” Victim 1 also received a certificate with a U.S. flag on it with the words “Federal Grants” next to it which included Victim 1’s full name and the text: “Federal Government Grants for the sum of $5,000,000.” After receiving these certificates, Victim 1 continued to send money to Akinyemi and other members of the conspiracy. In total, Victim 1 sent between approximately $70,000 to $80,000 to Akinyemi.

Victim 2, who was 71 years old and lived in Indiana, received a message from someone they believed to be a high school friend regarding a “Strengthening Community Fund,” but was, in fact, a member of the conspiracy posing as the victim’s high school friend. The conspiracy member told Victim 2 that they received money from the fund in the recent past and that there were different amounts for which a person could apply. The member of the conspiracy then provided Victim 2 with the contact information for a fictitious agent representing the “Fund.”

After Victim 2 contacted and sought information regarding the Fund, a member of the conspiracy masquerading as an agent asked Victim 2 if they were ready to apply. When Victim 2 communicated their desire to do so, the member of the conspiracy sought biographical information from Victim 2, including their monthly income. Once Victim 2 provided this information, the member of the conspiracy informed Victim 2 that they had been “approved.” Victim 2 applied for $80,000, which Victim 2 believed would cost $800 in fees. Victim 2 sent a total of approximately $50,000 in fictitious fees and taxes in order to obtain money from the fictitious fund.

During an interview with law enforcement on April 25, 2019, Akinyemi confirmed that he had received packages from victims throughout the country, detailed the scheme to defraud, and informed investigators that individuals in Nigeria were responsible for soliciting the victims to send money to him.

Further, Akinyemi stated that he received approximately $80,000 in the mail in the year prior to his interview. A subsequent review of Akinyemi’s phone revealed, among other things, photos of tracking numbers and dollar amounts, a receipt for a money order, and conversations with conspirators discussing the percentage of the proceeds Akinyemi would take for his participation in the conspiracy.

At least five victims suffered a substantial financial hardship as a result of the money that was fraudulently obtained by Akinyemi and his co-conspirators during the execution of the scheme.

According to his plea agreement, beginning in December 2020, Akinyemi and other co-conspirators also illegally obtained unemployment and CARES Act COVID-19 related benefits by filing fraudulent unemployment claims in the names of living and deceased victims from Maryland and Arizona.

Akinyemi and his co-conspirators used the mailing address of his Landover residence, as well as the home address of a Washington D.C. client to whom Akinyemi provided at-home nursing care services to receive the fraudulent unemployment insurance debit cards in the mail.

A total of nine unemployment insurance claims were filed using the address of Akinyemi’s D.C. nursing care client. As stated in his plea agreement, 10 CARES Act Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (“PUA”) claims were filed with the state of Maryland using Akinyemi’s Landover residence as the mailing address, with an intended loss of more than $170,000.

In total, Akinyemi and his co-conspirators used the identities of 19 real individuals to file fraudulent CARES Act unemployment insurance and PUA claims, causing an actual loss of more than $7,000, and an intended loss of $250,000 in state and federal benefits.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.

The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended HSI, the DOL-OIG, and the Prince George’s County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Rajeev R. Raghavan, who is prosecuting the case.

Source: Justice.Gov

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Lil Poppa Releases “Money Call” | Video Out Now!

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Jacksonville, FL rapper and CMG signee, Lil Poppa has released a brand new song and video for track “Money Call” — an explosive track coming just under three minutes that spotlights Poppa’s pension for hard hitting rhymes and melodic hooks. The track will launch f #WildchildWednesdays that will be announced later today. “Money Call” came with an equally emotive music video, watch above or via link here:  http://LilPoppa.lnk.to/MoneyCallVid
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South African pioneer Riky Rick posthumously receives inaugural Global Visionary Award at The BET HipHop Awards 2022]

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Rikhado “Riky Rick” Makhado will be honoured posthumously with the prestigious title his fans have known him to hold ever since he broke into the industry: The Global Visionary Award, during the International Broadcast of the 2022 BET Hip-Hop Awards. The esteemed award recognises and honours champions of culture, including artists, DJs, and music industry professionals who have made ground-breaking efforts to expand the culture of hip-hop on the World Stage. Riky Rick is the inaugural recipient of this award.   

Hosted by Grammy®-nominated recording artist, actor, entrepreneur, and media personality Fat Joe the “BET HIP HOP AWARDS” 2022, will tape from the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in Atlanta, GA, on Friday, September 30, and will premiere Internationally on BET Africa, DStv channel 129 on Wednesday, 05 October 2022 at 02:00 am WAT/ 03:00 am CAT and repeat at 18:30WAT/19:30 CAT.  

“The BET Global Visionary Award comes as a heart-warming opportunity to celebrate Rikhado’s life and his deep love for humanity”, said Louisa Zondo, Riky Rick’s mother. “I see the award as a recognition of the positive impact of the music Rikhado shared with us. The award also highlights how Rikhado used arts and culture as an important and effective pathway for people to truly connect with, care for and be seen by each other.” 

The South African Entrepreneur, Rapper, and Fashion Icon, Riky Rick, has been a force in the music industry since the release of “Nafukwa”, which won an MTV Africa Award for Video of the Year. Riky Rick’s dynamic and prominent voice in SA hip-hop has earned him recognition as a highly regarded creative who has left an indelible mark on the global music scene. He pioneered the independent music wave in SA and beyond, separating from his label and releasing music directly to fans online. His independent ventures achieved much success and inspired other artists to explore a similar path. He is the founder and owner of Cotton Club Records and of Cotton Fest, a platform that celebrates the world of music and fashion.  

“As Riky’s family, we are moved and honoured to receive the BET Global Visionary Award on behalf of our beloved, Riky Rick,” said Bianca Naidoo Makhado, Riky Rick’s wife. “This award honours his work and his name. I am so proud that my husband’s work is still making a positive impact within the entertainment space and that his legacy continues to inspire young creatives. This award reminds us of his love for his fans and for the culture.”  

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Riky Rick’s untimely passing, due to mental health struggles, is a great loss for many. This Award aims to honour his life, work, and his lasting impact while raising awareness around mental health issues and shedding light on available coping resources. Riky Rick was an innovator in many spheres of culture and the world benefited greatly from his intuitive vision.        

For more information about “BET Hip Hop Awards” including the latest news and updates, visit bet.com/hiphopawards.  

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