Georgia Man Indicted for Scheme to Defraud Elderly Suffolk County Victim of More Than $5 Million
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of New York
Defendant and his Co-Conspirators Falsely Told Victim to Send Millions of Dollars to Claim Certificate Needed for “Inheritance”
Earlier today, a two-count indictment was unsealed in federal court in Central Islip charging Odera Odabi, a resident of Georgia, with conspiring to commit mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Odabi was arrested today in Georgia and made his initial appearance in federal court in Atlanta where he was ordered detained pending trial. Odabi will be arraigned in federal court in Central Islip at a later date.
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office (FBI), announced the arrest and charges.
“Odabi and his co-conspirators callously abused the trust of an elderly victim to line their pockets with millions in stolen cash,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This Office and our partners will work tirelessly to ensure that those who prey upon some of the most vulnerable members of our community are called to account for their crimes.”
“As alleged, the defendant and his co-conspirators took advantage of an elderly individual, deceiving the victim into sending more than five million dollars, which the schemers used for their own personal benefit. Financial frauds targeting elderly members of our communities are sadly rising at an alarming rate. The FBI is resolute in ensuring those who financially exploit the elderly face the consequences in the criminal justice system,” stated Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll.
As alleged in the Indictment and in court filings and proceedings, between approximately April 2020 and December 2021, Odabi and his co-conspirators falsely informed an elderly Suffolk County resident (John Doe) that he needed to send around $5.3 million to various bank accounts in order to obtain a purported “Certificate of Origination” from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and claim a purported inheritance in Singapore. In fact, the IMF does not issue such Certificates and has posted a warning on its website alerting the public to fraudulent schemes involving purported IMF certificates.
As a result of the false communications, John Doe sent Odabi and his co-conspirators approximately $5.3 million, including approximately $2 million to accounts held in the name of Oh-Dabi Properties, LLC and American Commodity Exchange, Inc., two Georgia-based companies that Odabi operated. Ultimately, Odabi and his co-conspirators stole nearly all of John Doe’s funds to benefit themselves, including through purchases at an Apple Store and Louis Vuitton, except for $197,000 that was frozen by bank officials on suspicion of fraud.
If convicted of the charges in the Indictment, Odabi faces up to a maximum term of 40 years’ imprisonment.
If you or someone you know is a victim of elder fraud, please call the Department of Justice’s National Elder Fraud Hotline at 833–FRAUD–11 (833–372–8311). The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York conducts presentations by Assistant U.S. Attorneys about ways to protect yourself and your community against scams, especially those targeting seniors. To request a presentation please email USANYE-SpeakersBureau@usdoj.gov.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorney Bradley T. King and Madeline O’Connor are in charge of the prosecution.
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 23-CR-169 (JS)
Danielle Blustein Hass
United States Attorney’s Office
Updated April 25, 2023