• White Collar August 2018

    Author : September 1, 2018

    Some examples of the most common white-collar crimes are things like money laundering, embezzlement, or certain kinds of wage theft or labor law violations. However, fraud is one of the broadest types of crime that can be found in all manner of industries – from construction and development to healthcare. Last week, the Manhattan D.A. charged two individuals with a more unusual kind of fraud – pretending to be an employment agency and duping job seekers.

    According to court documents, Kamel McKay and Osmond Eweka, the latter of which is a member of a royal family in West Africa, joined forces to defraud individuals. They set up a fake job placement agency which provided services to fake staffing agencies that they created. As part of the scheme, the two defendants interviewed people, offered them jobs, and then informed them that they wold be responsible for various ‘job-related’ expenses, like licensing, background checks and uniforms before they could begin work. These fees ranged anywhere from $279.00 to $700.00 for each victim. The victims paid, but they never received any of the items they paid for – and certainly never got a position of employment. Law enforcement estimates that the pair defrauded over $54,000.00 from around 250 people in a mere six months.

    The schemes were thorough. First, for a few months, McKay met with victims under a fake name and told them he was providing job placement services for a company called Trinity Advancement Group, LLC or Howard Consulting Group, LLC. The agency was fake. The victims knew they had been duped when they showed up to the actual job sites to report for work and were turned away, with the employers claiming that they had no knowledge of either Trinity Advancement Group LLC or Howard Consulting Group LLC. Alternately, sometimes the victims simply never heard from the defendants again. Both individuals were charged with four counts of scheme to defraud in the first degree, which is a class E felony. They also have been charged with various counts of Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor.

    Over in Brooklyn, the D.A. finalized another white-collar fraud case concerning attempts to steal real properties through deed fraud. Aderibgbe Ogundiran of Brooklyn was sentenced between 2-6 years in prison for attempting to steal the title to six residences in Brooklyn. The residences either had deceased titled holders or were properties that appeared to be abandoned. For one property, a landmarked 19th-century mansion, Ogundiran used a Notary Public to execute and file a deed which transferred ownership from the actual owner of the property (a dead man) to a corporation Ogundiran controlled, using an imposter to pose as the dead man. The man's elderly sister was still living in the house. The deed was properly filed, and ownership was transferred to Ogundiran’s corporation.

    On at least one occasion, the defendant is accused of collecting rent from a tenant after he leased to an apartment. He was caught after the owner/resident of one of his properties received a notice with instructions to vacate. She promptly called her attorney, who filed a complaint with the City of New York, department of finance – and thus, Mr. Ogundiran was caught.

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