Big Concern As More Kenyans Are Accused Of Financial Crimes In U.S

Big Concern As More Kenyans Are Accused Of Financial Crimes In U.S
Big Concern As More Kenyans Are Accused Of Financial Crimes In U.S

American and Kenyan media outlets have been awash this week with headlines of Kenyans accused and convicted of engaging in financial crimes in the United States.

These include the two Kenyan nurses nurses accused of engaging in a Ksh.12 billion (USD 100 million) home health care fraud scheme.

One of them, Winnie Waruru, pleaded guilty in a federal court in Boston on September 8 to six counts, whilst her alleged accomplice, Faith Newton, 52, whom she was arrested and charged along with, pleaded not guilty and is pending trial.

There are also the 11 Kenyans out of more than 47 suspects charged in the United States in what has been termed the largest COVID-19 related scandal yet.

In this case, the suspects are believed to have stolen USD 250 million (approx. Ksh.30 billion) meant to feed children during the COVID-19 pandemic, investing the money in different countries including the US without serving a single meal to the hungry children.

But those aren’t the only Kenyans who have been accused of financial wrong-doing.

In April this year, Oscar Kipkirui Ng’eno was accused of 10 counts of wire fraud and one of conspiracy for allegedly engaging in a scheme to deceive and defraud the government of Bernalillo County in New Mexico, United States.

It is alleged that between October and December of 2019, the county sent payments totaling $447,372.89 (Ksh.54 million) to Ng’eno’s account.

He then allegedly distributed a portion of the funds to his co-conspirators, including by issuing checks totaling $98,930 (Ksh.12 million).

If convicted, the 41-year -ld, who was in the US on an immigrant visa, could face up to 20 years in prison for each count.

In 2019, Robert Mutua Muli, who resided in Ohio, pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud state and local governments of millions of dollars.

According to court documents, Robert of Carrollton conspired with others to defraud state and local governments by fraudulently pretending to be legitimate government vendors.

Using sham email addresses, the conspirators sent government entities bogus vendor payment information that caused government entities to make large payments to bank accounts controlled by Muli.

Muli then quickly transferred the fraudulently obtained funds to himself and to his co-conspirators, some of whom were located in Kenya.

Another unnamed Kenyan was handed 10 years in jail and a Ksh.25 million fine for stealing from the US government in 2019.

The suspect was arrested in September 2016 at the Los Angeles Airport in California as he tried to flee after committing crimes involving the theft of Ksh.7.7 million from the US Treasury.

During his trial, the court was told that he illegally obtained the cash by presenting to the US Department of Treasury a cheque payable to an individual identified as CS that had been issued on a federal income tax return filed electronically from Kenya.

He was also convicted of stealing another treasury refund cheque that had been issued on an electronically filed return filed in 2012.

The grass may look greener on the other side but for Kenyans accused of financial fraud schemes, the reality is very different.

By Waihiga Mwaura



Big Concern As More Kenyans Are Accused Of Financial Crimes In U.S

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