A Cameroonian is set to be tried at a court in the United States of America over Coronavirus-related fraud charges, the Justice Department of the US has said.
The Cameroonian was extradited to the United States from Romania on Monday, April 26 and is expected to face federal charges for his alleged involvement in a fraud scheme perpetrated against American consumers.
Desmond Fodje Bobga, 28, made an initial appearance at the federal district court in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, April 27 and has since been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, forging a seal of the U.S. Supreme Court, and aggravated identity theft. The charges stem from around 2018-2020.
The suspect is accused of knowingly conspired with others to offer puppies and other animals for sale on internet websites.
” He and others communicated by text message and email with potential victims to induce purchases. Following each purchase, Bobga and co-conspirators claimed that a transportation company would deliver the puppy or other animal and provided a false tracking number for the pet. Bobga and his co-conspirators, acting as the transportation company, then claimed the pet transport was delayed and that the victim needed to pay additional money for delivery of the pet,”the Justice Department of the US said in a statement.
“The Department of Justice is committed to prosecuting fraud schemes that take advantage of American consumers, including schemes that seek to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We are grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Pennsylvania and to the FBI for their partnership on this matter, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of Romanian law enforcement.”
“From across the globe, Desmond Fodje Bobga and his co-conspirators callously exploited consumers who were seeking the companionship of a pet to alleviate the isolation and stress caused by the COVID pandemic,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman for the Western District of Pennsylvania. “Today he stands before the court in Pittsburgh to face justice.”
“Mr. Bobga created false websites to advertise puppies or other animals, communicated with customers in the U.S., obtained payment and then provided nothing in return,” said FBI Pittsburgh Acting Special Agent in Charge Carlton Peeples. “His extradition to Western Pennsylvania to face these accusations sends a message to others looking to exploit victims in the U.S. that the FBI will stop at nothing to find you and put a stop to these scams.”