Osmond Eweka, a son-in-law of Bright Igbinedion, has been charged in the United States of America for allegedly scamming job seekers out of thousands of dollars by promising them high-paying employment in New York.
Bright Igbinedion is the son of Esama of Benin, Sir Gabriel Igbinedion, and brother of former Governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said Mr Eweka, 31, and his friend Kamel McKay, 27, pretended to run two consulting firms in Manhattan telling clients that if they paid a fee they would be placed at various jobs across New York City.
Prosecutors said some of the jobs Eweka and McKay promised their victims were for hotel housekeeping and front desk receptionists. The men used the popular job-seeking website Indeed.com to find their victims.
According to court documents, the two used office space in the Empire State Building and another building on Fifth Avenue to run two bogus employment agency firms, Stamford Consulting Firm and Howard Consulting Group.
They also used fake names, according to the New York Post. Eweka went by the name Sean Jackson and McKay reportedly used the name Tyrone Hayes.
Prosecutors said they would invite their victims to their office for an interview and then have them pay a fee, ranging between $300 and $700.
Prosecutor Catherine McCaw said they told victims the fee would cover the cost of uniforms, training and background checks. They also said that paying the high fee would result in higher-paying jobs.
“But in reality, there was no such job,” she said at Eweka’s arraignment on Thursday in Manhattan Supreme Court.
After collecting the money, the men would send the job seekers to different businesses, where they were turned away by employers who weren’t expecting them.
The victims then found that they could no longer get in contact with the alleged fraudsters or the consulting firm.
According to authorities, Eweka and McKay duped 250 people and pocketed more than $54,000. Prosecutors said they never provided a single job. They ran the alleged scam from January to June 2018.
Both men were indicted on charges of larceny and scheme to defraud. McKay was arraigned last week and released on $200,000 bail, the New York Times reports.
Eweka was in court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was released without bail.
A US citizen living in New Jersey, Eweka married Bright Igbinedion’s daughter, Imade, at an elaborate wedding in Benin City in December 2016.
He proposed to her at The Michelangelo Towers in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2014