Chidozie Collins Obasi, a Nigerian, is wanted by the FBI for allegedly defrauding New York of more than $30 million through the sale of “non-existent” ventilators.
Obasi, 29, allegedly posed as a representative of an Indonesian-based medical supply company offering ventilators for sale in March 2020, at the peak of COVID-19, according to the FBI.
The US attorney’s office said in a statement sighted by Newsbreak.ng on Sunday that the Nigerian allegedly stated that the Indonesian-based company had a big inventory of ventilators produced by a German company.
According to the FBI, the state of New York sent $30 million for the purchase of ventilators, which did not exist.
“Chidozie Collins Obasi of Nigeria is wanted for defrauding N.Y. State out of more than $30 million. Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts should contact their local FBI office,” a tweet by FBI read.
“The indictment further alleges that in approximately March 2020, soon after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States and ventilators were in high demand, Obasi posed as a representative of an Indonesian-based medical supply company offering ventilators for sale, and claimed to have a large stockpile of ventilators manufactured by a German company whose headquarters was in Telford, PA,” the US government said.
“The defendant allegedly convinced a medical equipment broker in the U.S. to broker sales of these non-existent ventilators, and ultimately deceived the State of New York into wiring more than $30 million for the purchase of ventilators that did not exist.
“Obasi continued to target other potential customers with this same scam, including hospitals.”
The FBI further claimed that in September 2018, Obasi and a co-conspirator provided bogus work-from-home jobs to US citizens in order to obtain more than $1 million.
The FBI also revealed that in June 2020, Obasi and his accomplices applied for and were granted more than $135,000 in the COVID-19 economic injury disaster loan by using stolen identities of US residents.
Obasi is wanted by the FBI and faces a maximum penalty of 621 years in prison if found and found guilty.