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Nigerian sentenced in Louisville-centered sweepstakes scam

By Carolyn Tribble Greer – Digital editor, Louisville Business First - 18-07-27
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A Nigerian national was sentenced by a federal judge in Louisville to 15 years in prison for his participation in a sweepstakes scam.

A Nigerian national was sentenced by a federal judge in Louisville to 15 months in prison for his participation in a sweepstakes scam.

The scam resulted in more than 50 victims sending Kingsley Ekpendu cash in the mail, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman.

Ekpendu, 42, was charged in an indictment and pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud. As part of the plea agreement, Ekpendu, who is a U.S. permanent resident, agreed to his removal from the U.S. after the completion of his 15-month prison sentence.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Joseph McKinley Jr. also ordered Ekpendu to pay $257,916.15 in restitution to victims of the scheme.

According to the plea agreement, from February 2016 through October 2017, Ekpendu participated in a scheme to defraud victims by making them believe they had won a sweepstakes or lottery, according to the release.

Ekpendu and others mailed letters to potential victims across the nation. Each letter stated that the recipient had won a lottery or sweepstakes prize, listed a phone number for a "claims manager" and included a check for several thousand dollars to cover "insurance and legal fees."

When the victim called the "claims manager," the "claims manager" would tell the victim that to receive the prize, the victim needed to deposit the check and send several thousand dollars in cash to an address in Louisville. The defendant then would pick up the cash from the Louisville address, keeping a share for himself and sending the remainder to other participants in the scheme.

The checks Ekpendu and others mailed to the victims were fraudulent, but the victims would not realize this until after they had sent cash to the Louisville address and it was too late for them to recover the funds.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda Gregory prosecuted the case. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Louisville Metro Police Department conducted the investigation.


Tags: Nigerian, Kingsley Ekpendu, sweepstakes, scam, Russell Coleman, Amanda Gregory, Government Regulations

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