Louisville resident Kingsley I. Ekpendu has been accused of targeting elderly people using a hoax consisting of telling them they had won cash prizes in a sweepstakes. He allegedly extorted money from the assumed winners after sending them counterfeit checks to deposit into their bank accounts. He then asked that they overnight money to a specified address. It is suspected that he was able to con hundreds of thousands of dollars from people in this manner.
Police stated that between September 2 and October 4 Ekpendu allegedly mailed letters to three or more addresses announcing they were winners of the Publishers Clearing House Super Cash Giveaway. The letters held fraudulent checks for amounts between $6,000 and $8,000, and instructions to deposit the check and overnight mail an amount ranging from $5,200 to $7,000 in order to claim their winnings.
Law enforcement received information from a local shipping company who became suspicious of the number and size of the packages being delivered to an address that appeared to be a vacant dwelling. Ekpendu received the first two of the three packages, and police intervened before he was able to get the third.
Investigators served a search warrant at Ekpendu’s residence and discovered 198 stamped letters stating that the receivers had won a sweepstakes, and each letter contained a phony check. The checks came to a total of $1.485 million. Police anticipate that the hoax likely went undetected for quite a while.
42-year-old Ekpendu allegedly told officers that his involvement in the scheme consisted of accepting payment for mailing out the letters. He has been charged with three counts of theft by deception under $10,000 and 201 counts of criminal possession of a forged instrument.
If you or someone you love is suspected of theft or forgery, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.