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Press Release

Nigerian Man Using False Identification Charged with Disaster Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Texas

HOUSTON ‐ A man using a false identification in a scheme to obtain a fraudulent government loan for damage sustained from Hurricane Irma is set to appear in federal court, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

A grand jury in Houston returned the three-count indictment against Oluseyi Jeremiah Olagoke Adebayo aka Jeremiah Adebayo Oluyesi, 43, a Nigerian man who illegally resided in Houston, on March 8, 2018. He is set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christina Bryan today at 10:00 a.m.

According to the indictment, from October 2017 to February 2018, Adebayo used the identification of an Orlando, Florida, resident in an attempt to obtain a fraudulent disaster home loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in connection to Hurricane Irma.

The SBA provides long-term low-interest loans to businesses and non-profit organizations in the aftermath of a declared disaster. Loan proceeds are to be used solely for the repair or replacement of real estate, inventory, supplies, machinery and equipment damaged during a declared disaster. Hurricane Irma impacted the Gulf Coast region, including the state of Florida, and was declared a disaster in September 2017. 

An application was allegedly submitted to the SBA in October 2017 for a $118,900 home disaster loan which contained several potential fraud indicators. Further, an individual in Houston had attempted to collect on the loan for the Florida property, according to the indictment.  

Adebayo appeared at a U.S. Post Office in Houston on Feb. 7, 2018, to obtain the fraudulent loan disbursement check, according to the charges. Adebayo allegedly used a counterfeit passport with the identification of the Florida resident to obtain the check. At that time, the indictment alleges he was also found in possession of a counterfeit U.S. visa.   

Adebayo is charged with one count of fraud in connection with a major disaster and forgery or false use of a passport for which he faces up to 20 and 10 years in federal prison, respectively. He also faces a mandatory two years upon conviction of aggravated identity theft which must be served consecutively to any other prison term imposed. All counts also carry a potential $250,000 maximum fine.

SBA-Office of Inspector General and U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Day is prosecuting the case.

An indictment is an accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

Updated March 16, 2018

Disaster Fraud