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Five More Kenyans Arrested in Alleged Multi-State Fraud Scheme

Posted by Administrator on November 17, 2009

***If convicted of all charges, three of the Kenyans will face 160 years each in prison while the other two will face 20 years each.

***Auditor Glen Gainer III calls the crimes “terrorist acts”.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — An international team of scam artists defrauded four states, including West Virginia, out of $3.34 million by creating phony accounts with similar names to vendors with large state contracts, according to a federal indictment unsealed on Tuesday.

Using information about the contracts gleaned from government Web sites, the conspirators created dummy corporations and bank accounts, the indictment alleges. They then wrote to state governments and changed the payments to direct deposit to the fake bank accounts.

Once the funds cleared, they were transferred to various banks in Nairobi, Kenya, according to the indictment.

The alleged conspirators are: Michael M. “Mikie” Ochenge, 33; Robert M. “Robe” Otiso, 36; Paramena J. Shikanda, 35; Collins A. Masese, 20; and Albert E. Gunga, 30. Otiso is from Elk River, Minn.; the rest are from Minneapolis.

Angella Muthoni Chegge-Kraszeski, 33, of Raleigh, N.C., is not named as a defendant in the indictment, but she was charged in the same scam by a federal grand jury in June. On Tuesday, as the others were indicted, prosecutors asked a judge to schedule a guilty plea for Chegge-Kraszeski.

In May, the case made headlines in West Virginia, when state Auditor Glen Gainer III’s office discovered that three payments totaling roughly $2 million had not reached their intended destinations.

The indictment addresses at least one of those payments, a March 20 $919,916 transfer to Deloitte Consulting for providing data systems help to the state Department of Health and Human Resources. Instead of going to Deloitte, it went to Deloitte Consulting, which had been set up by Chegge-Kraszeski in January in North Carolina, the indictment alleges.

Before officials caught on, the scheme netted $919,916 from West Virginia, with an additional $1,288,037 stolen from Massachusetts, $869,546 from Kansas and $301,571 from Ohio, according to the indictment.

On multiple occasions, Chegge-Kraszeski, who had been express-mailed a phony South African passport under the name Christina Ann Clay from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, flew to Minnesota, where she and the others set up bank accounts with TCF Bank in Minneapolis, the indictment alleges.

On Tuesday, as he praised the work of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charleston as “outstanding,” Gainer called the incident a “wakeup call.”

“We are under assault. As far as I’m concerned, these were terrorist acts,” he said.

The alleged conspirators specifically targeted state governments, and used public information to exploit a weakness in states’ payment systems, he said.

“They researched the states. We saw where they went in through the public [Internet] portal,” he said.

West Virginia has recovered roughly $500,000 of the missing funds, but the state’s losses still approach $1 million, he said.

Even the brief success of the scam in multiple states shows that officials need to be more vigilant, he said.

“Because state governments are now a target for international fraudulent activity, we must constantly be reviewing and changing our internal controls,” he said. “The trouble is you’re trying to stay one step ahead of the scammers.”

If convicted on all counts, Ochenge, Otiso and Shikanda face up to 160 years in prison. Masese and Gunga, who face charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering, could spend up to 20 years in prison.

Gainer said he knows that the suspects are all innocent until proven guilty, but if they are convicted, he plans to attend their sentencing hearings. In the meantime, he will continue to upgrade the safeguards in place to protect public funds.

“Our internal controls that we have today aren’t good enough for tomorrow,” he said.

Source: http://www.wvgazette.com

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46 Responses to “Five More Kenyans Arrested in Alleged Multi-State Fraud Scheme”

  1. cathy said

    Just WOW! Is this the way some Kenyans are making money in ’09? As a resident of MN am deeply disappointed in these individual’s actions..I know everyone is innocent until proven guilty, but DANG! 160yrs in prison. Shortcuts in Life are not worth taking.

  2. Rab said

    hey. this is crazy thats why they all driving expensive cars and living large and we wonder are we not working the same way how are they get all these money from…. siku zao is over. this is a shame for all of us

  3. kima said

    Want to live big without sweating you will get fried.Tamaa iliuwa fisi. Why do we keep forgeting? Its a lesson to Kenyans in America. However, their systems are not as foolproof as they make them out to be. Trust Kenyans to have been the ones to crack it. Beat the Nigerians to it this time. Says alot about where we come from. We should be ashamed.

  4. samwel nyakemwa said

    Am disturbed that some unbecoming individuals in the society may start to damage the good name of innocent people from kenya in this great nation we respect and love ,let these guys face the consequences of their act,and those with such evil ambitions will have a lesson to learn.most kenyans are in America for a good purpose

  5. Kim said

    Ochenge, Otiso and Shikanda??? No Kikuyus? What in the world? Now you know Kikuyus are losing their prowess:)

  6. Diana said

    This is just terrible. Why can’t we eat from our own sweat? These are the people who are spoiling for others here in the US. You know you are going to get caught no matter what but you still go ahead. Now let’s see them drive their big flashy cars….in prison. Good riddance.

  7. omogusii said

    I know one of the guys and can’t believe this!I hope the state does not given em 160 years. There are private companies that defraud the gov out of more money than that. The gov itself wastes more money daily that some countries in africa can spend in a year

  8. sandra said

    i am so so sorry for these people family most of all their mothers and fathers kids and wife if they were not involved, lets all not judge them yet. let God move. prayer changes things.

    • MKenya said

      Truly so, the families have to endure ridicule and embarassment. Innocent as they are, family members’ lives are changed forever because their loved one messed up big time. However, they are innocent until proven guilty.

      • nyambu said

        surely iknow the guys but mtoto umleavio ndivio akuavio . what kind of wife who can sit back see husband driving a benz and not to ask .

  9. Charles Mweresa said

    As a kenyan,this is the type of news headlines that leaves you scratching your head.kenya as a nation has suffered as a resultof corruption and fraud of all kinds.you think they will appree refrain from this same kind illegal activities which have destroyed kenya.I hope other kenyans learn a lesson and refrain from committing such acts..

  10. walter Nyabere said

    These guys are innocent until proven Guilty. Please do not rush into conclusions. This is why we have the Justice system.

  11. mokeira said

    This is terrible.Taking government money then starting to boost and walking tall? You will be boiled alive if proven guilty.

  12. onyinkwa said

    I am shocked that those lynching their country men online are Kenyans in the diaspora whom we expect to stand by their brethren in this difficult time.

    • fred said

      aye onyinkwa, we can’t defend their wrong doingz! NO! NO! NOPE! they were celebrities living so large knowing well they had cheated! rolling with big machines! living in huge cribz! Damn! if found guilty, am not on their side dude! they better face the law solo!!! So if you’re shocked, shut your big mouth and let them thieves face it!!!

      • Gee said

        Fred,why cant you wait for them to be proven guility,further more most of you guys are haters coz what pissed you off is the fact that they live in big better houses and drive big cars.they are our country men,hata mtoto wako akiwa mbaya bado ni wako.tiga emoko.aye sibia abangina oisaneke

      • nyambu said

        You pple are thieves youuselves if you support thieves shame on you .

      • Nyaboke said

        Nyambu how clean are you? If you are 100% clean then call them thieves but if not!

  13. kebwaro said

    This is terrible.Iam always careful not to be quick in Judging.
    .Za mwizi ni arobaini”My roomates Lap top dissappered and I was in my bed room.I clearly heard a voice of a guy I know talking in swahili in the house.I assumed the the guy was in with my roomate.I was dead wrong.Laptop missed.
    asked the guy he said go ahead and call the police.
    sincerely I heard his unique voice, but did not see him.
    I had no case to call police.We left it that .
    Is it by coincidence that he is here again?Iam not rejoicing but very sad that among us , there are many of questionable characters, that we get ashamed to mention their acts;

  14. Jay said

    This is sad and shocking.let’s not judge,they’re all innocent until proven guilty.I know two of the guys,one is a hard worker and does doubles and all! So then if he had all these money,why did he need to work so much?wooi!! Poleni sana.

  15. ruthy said

    I hope they get 160 years in Kodiaga! Those fools!

    • Gee said

      rejoice fornow,are you sure you are any better.u might be shocked one day you are in kenya,uwekewe boza na ufunwe miaka kumi.will you expect us to believe that you are innocent?

    • symo said

      dont be a hater they r not let proven guility stop judging them yet.

    • Nyaboke said

      Ruthy i don’t believe you. And hope your day comes and God rewwwwward you accordingly

  16. muniu said

    Very sad thing……..Kenyans are known for being polite…but this one was just off…am shocked one was in Nairobi like a month ago….dang!
    Lets leave the scams to the Nigerian brothers and hope this will not make the rest of the Kenyans there automatic suspects…

  17. julius muaka said

    I think the fact that they are from kenya is irrelevant.crooks are just crooks kenyans or otherwise.this shouldnt be seen as an oopportunity to smear the whole country.

  18. Mogire said

    This is extremely barbaric. These guys should have realized that USA is a super power in every sector. USA has really helped alot of us ; Free grants, good loans and flamboyant lifestlyes. We should respect and thank USA for allowing us to leak their hard -gotten fruits and stop abusing their administraive systems.
    Let justice be done to these culprits. I hope they will be viewed as individuals but not as kenyans becuase everybody is different. Hurry hurry as got no blessings. Shame on you !!!!1

    • Pennie said

      Are u really this dumb? Wot kind of logic is this? Dude, please keep your two cents to yourself. While your @ it, please note its “Hurry hurry HAS no blessings, and NOT “Hurry hurry AS no blessings”…nkt! You need an English course!

  19. Bosbori said

    We all make mistake only that our time have not come for us to be judged. So lets not point fingures at them. If God was to come right now I wonder how many will be innocent. They are nice people really nice but they made the wrong choices. Belivers out there, please let pray for them and especially their innocent families who might be dragged into this. One of the some of those guys there are kindest people I have ever met. Its unfortunate they are Kenyans but that does not make Kenyans bad people. Lets learn from this.

    • nyambu said

      but we dont do foolish mistakes like that they are grown ups come from well families they should have knowm better .

  20. oyaro said

    Quite sad for our homeboys,the deal got too good and didnt think twice.unfortunately ,their dream has come to a sad ending.joking with funds of Federal government is the worst mistake and on their soil.lets hope that other kenyans in the diaspora with same traits should learn from what Ochenge,Shikanda&otiso are going thro’. kenyans please keep our image!

  21. Mike said

    I really hope they are innocent- which I doubt it, so it looks like soon or later they will be someone,s “bitch”-
    and god- for a good 160yrs. they might need lots of vaseline to go with. We work and pay taxes to the Goverment and they steal that money and live big. weka mafuta tayari Tyrone na Gonzalase are waiting.

    • fred said

      hey Mike, your are very funny! but true boy! they mess up the system, the system will fix them up! i like the k-y story coz the mexican guy is waiting for new comers!!!

    • symo said

      Hi Mike dont be a bitch? How do u know dat is true? Just wait n see wat is next.

  22. Gee said

    Kenyans,lets put our heads together and pray for our fellow kenyans.I dont support what they did,that is if they did it but then we should not rush condemning them yet they are the very ones we have been sending home and spending nice time together.

  23. moses said

    Omg this is too bad why are this kenyans are doing this im so disappointed.

  24. Riddro said

    Let’s see who will cast the first stone! Some of u seem to be rejoicing in pple’s misfortunes. I absolutely do not approve of this,however during this difficult time when innocent family members,friends and a community as a whole is dragged into such difficult circumstances,we need to pray. They are innocent until proved guilty.

  25. it is funny how things change and all over acertain you start wondering whats going on in peoples heads ,iknow three of the guys and men i could not believe what i heard from the news.but hey you know that this is america, which makes sure that justice has to be served and is willing to spend time, money, and all the resources to make sure that search athing never happens again,but miaka 160!!!!!jo hizo ni miaka mooOOOOOOOb sana!!!!!have guys heard when they wiil get perlore!!! may be after 50 years

  26. bEniS said

    Please guys don`t be like our corrupt leaders in kenya. U need to face the music in jail and this will b a good example to others. Didn`t U hear abt the tax fraud in KC THE OTHER YEAR?They say wise men learn from history but fools r doomed to learn from experience. As much as I had fraud and corruption,U guys go to jail n rot 4ever.

  27. Nyaboke said

    Guys, i don believe other Kenyans in the diaspora are rejoicing when it comes to such matters.
    Is it because they drove flashy expensive cars and live in classy cribs? Is this malice or what do we call it? Nway i also believe we are all criminals only that our time hasn’t come. For instance there’s this Jamaican cleric who is in Kenya and he is detained at the airport, even the flights going to his country have refused to carry him home coz he is a security threat. He is believed to be a bomber. Muslims in Kenya took to the streets to demonstarate to have him released yet they don’t know him.
    Here comes a Kenyan in the diaspora who is supposed to take you up as a brother, sister but he/she is the one rejoicing for your fall, surely! Is this the type of relationship we want. Na mtu akifa God forbid, will you be there to support?
    This is not good at all. @Gee i agree with you, lets put our heads together and pray for them. Am indeed dissapointed with some of the people commenting on this blog n they are Kenyans. Shame unto you…. NB: EVEN IF PROVEN GUILTY THEY WILL STILL REMAIN KENYANS. Nigeria is known for this fraud thing and you see how the reputation is, so Kenyans watch out, you may be the next victims for scrutiny and i know most of you…………….. hamna chenu. I will pray for all of you though. Remember 2006 june when some Kenyans were arrested at the American Embassy here, please recap that story and know what will happen unto you.
    You never know when the craving will strike

  28. tugemo said

    Suppose these bave men and women succeeded in their Game of( Robin hood )stealing from the Rich and giving to the poor. Ididnt like some comments from most Kenyans ; I do not see stealing money from a a Mother of all capitalism and a super-power like America as a crime!
    USA(America) is build by black man /woman free of charge >How many blacks men and women who perished from slaverly to this day .
    Let us do away with jeolousy .Black pple has the right to drive Porches/Mbenz or any other car that modern technology can make! wakenya we know you very well Wivu/Fitina/tribalism has eaten anything good from you! Hope these courage kenyans win their cases! Good luck May god bless you . You didnt come to USA to see Skycrappers!we all came here to prove our lack! Kitu gani!

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