A Kenyan man has been charged in a US court for allegedly defrauding Bernalillo County through a wire transfer scheme.
Oscar Kipkirui Ng’eno, 41, was arraigned in federal court on March 30th on an indictment charging him with 10 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy.
Ng’eno, who was present in New York on an immigrant visa, allegedly engaged in a scheme to deceive and defraud the government of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, from October through December of 2019.
The suspect is said to have sent an email to Bernalillo County intended to appear to come from a legitimate vendor CDW Government Inc., which had provided products and services to the county for which payment was due.
The spoofed email included a completed automated clearinghouse (ACH) form used by Bernalillo County to establish or change automated payments electronically to vendor bank accounts, according to the US Department of Justice.
“The email also included an image of a voided check showing the same routing and account numbers listed on the ACH form,” the department of justice noted.
The email also provided a telephone number that was represented as a contact number for CDW, but actually belonged to Ng’eno.
The county sent payments totaling $447,372.89 (Sh51 million) to Ngeno’s account between October and December 2019. Ng’eno then allegedly distributed part of the money to his co-conspirators, including by issuing checks totaling $98,930 (Sh11 million).
If convicted, Ng’eno could face up to 20 years in prison for each count.