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Club Owner Arrested: N32M Covid Fraud Scheme Uncovered

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Adepoju Olawale Sunday of De Rock Club, a club owner from Ibadan, was detained for stealing N32 million in covid monies from the US government.

Olawale, the owner of the club, is said to have been charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibadan Zonal Command, on Sunday.

Judge Uche Agomoh of the Federal High Court presided over the trial. The suspect was accused of participating in cybercrime and acquiring money under false pretense, which is two separate accusations.

The first charge included eight charges, including transfer of proceeds of crime to Owoade Emmanuel David and identity theft as well as collecting covid-19 funding and unemployment benefits from the US government.

However, further investigations have shown that the club owner obtained certain American individuals’ personal information through his small business in the US, which he then used to submit fictitious benefit claims.

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Adepoju Olawale Sunday, alias SSG, the proprietor of the Ibadan-based Club, De Rock Club, was charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibadan Zonal Command, on March 29, 2023, with two separate offenses for allegedly participating in cybercrime and obtaining money under false pretenses totaling N31, 821, 000.00. (Thirty-One Million, Eight Hundred and Twenty-One Thousand Naira).

While the other 19-count indictment is based on the transfer of criminal proceeds to one Owoade Emmanuel David, the first charge, which consists of eight counts, is bordered by identity theft, getting COVID-19, and unemployment benefits from the United States of America Government.

Investigations showed that Adepoju, 36, who claimed to be an industrial chemistry graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ago Iwoye, Osun State, had defrauded the American government and unwary Americans of thousands of dollars during the COVID-19 outbreak.

He is accused of stealing the names of American people around the country who were qualified for the tax refund program and using the stolen data to file for the benefits.

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Investigations also revealed that Adepoju had stolen American citizens’ personally identifying information and used it to submit false claims for benefits through the US Small Business Administration (SBA), a program established in New York City during Covid-19 to assist Americans in creating resilient businesses.

After hearing the accusations against him, the defendant entered a “not guilty” plea.

As a result, the prosecution’s attorney, Mabas Mabur, requested that the defendant be held in custody until the outcome of the case and that the court set a date for the trial.

But, Olaniyi George, the defendant’s attorney, told the court that he had submitted two separate bail petitions on the defendant’s behalf and asked the judge to grant bail.

Mabur instructed the court to deny the motions, arguing that the defendant is a flight risk and that other legal proceedings against him are still unresolved.

Judge Agomoh ruled that the defendant be remanded in the Agodi Correctional Institution and postponed the case to April 18, 2023, for a decision.

On August 31, 2022, the defendant and 21 other alleged internet fraudsters were detained as part of an intelligence-driven operation carried out by agents of the EFCC’s Ibadan Zonal Command.

He was found in possession of a 2020 Range Rover HSE Sports Utility Vehicle, an HP laptop, an iPhone 13 Pro Max, and other items.


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