Canadian Fugitive Wanted for Operating Fraud Schemes Targeting Americans Arrested Near Border Crossing in Maine
|FBI Los Angeles April 09, 2013|
A Canadian man wanted on federal charges alleging he and others operated various fraud schemes was arrested upon entering the United States last week, announced Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.
Peter Omagbemi, 43, of Nova Scotia, Canada, was arrested Tuesday of last week upon entering the United States near a port of entry crossing in Calais, Maine. Omagbemi was detained by agents with the United States Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP) after a review by CBP officials of Omagbemi’s identification revealed an outstanding federal warrant for his arrest. Agents with CBP then contacted agents with the FBI’s Bangor Resident Agency, part of the FBI’s Boston Field Office, who responded and took Omagbemi into custody.
In 2009, Omagbemi was charged in a 17-count federal indictment filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles with mail and wire fraud. According to the indictment, Omagbemi owned a company called Glotem Enterprises, which operated as an agent of the MoneyGram money transfer service in Montreal. The indictment alleges that defendant Omagbemi and other conspirators contacted potential victims in the United States by either mail or telephone and carried out various fraudulent schemes in order to induce victims to wire money to the defendant.
The indicment alleges that potential victims were falsely told that they had won money in a lottery, sweepstakes, or through a class-action lawsuit and that, in order to obtain their winnings, they would have to send funds via MoneyGram to pay for “taxes or fees” and other purported expenses. In many cases, the defendant and others would send checks to victims instructing them to send the funds to a listed recipient once the victims cashed the checks at their own bank. Victims were advised that the check would be used to pay for “necessary expenses” associated with winning their prize. Victims who deposited the checks later learned from their bank that the checks were fraudulent and that the victims’ own funds were debited for the amount of money withdrawn by cashing the check.
The indictment alleges that Omagbemi and others employed alternate fraud schemes, including the so-called “mystery shopper” scheme, as well as one in which victims were told that their credit rating could be improved by paying a “processing fee.” Some of the victims were solicited multiple times and sent money more than once.
The indictment alleges that Omagbemi and co-conspirators victimized over 500 victims of a total amount exceeding $1.3 million. The majority of the victims listed in the indictment were located in various part of southern California.
Omagbemi made an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in the District of Maine on April 3, 2013 and was denied bail. Omagbemi waived his right to an identity hearing and a federal magistrate ordered Omagbemi be removed to Los Angeles to face prosecution. Omagbemi is expected to be transported to Los Angeles by the the United States Marshals Service in the near future and will make an initial appearance in federal court in Los Angeles upon his arrival.
Omagbemi’s arrest was made with the considerable assistance of agents with United States Customs and Border Protection Service in Calais, Maine, and agents with the FBI’s Boston Field Office.
The case against Omagbemi was investigated by the FBI in Los Angleles and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, both of which participate in Project Colt, one of the many binational task forces dedicated to combating cross border and mass marketing fraud. Omagbemi will be prosecuted by the United States Attrorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
FBI Press Relations: 310-996-3343
Assistant United States Attorney Ellen Lindsay: 213-894-2041