DA Vance Announces Fraud Charges Against West African Royal, Associate


July 26, 2018

Defendants Charged With Stealing From At Least 250 Victims in Employment Fraud Schemes

D.A. Urges Additional Victims to Come Forward

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., today announced the indictments of OSMOND EWEKA, 31, a member of a royal family in West Africa, and KAMEL MCKAY, 27, for stealing more than $54,000 from at least 250 victims in three employment fraud schemes. The defendants are charged with multiple counts of Scheme to Defraud and Petit Larceny in two separate indictments filed in New York State Supreme Court. [1]

“As alleged in the indictment, these defendants raked in a princely sum by exploiting hundreds of job seekers who paid for services that they did not need and that were not ultimately provided,” said District Attorney Vance. “In New York’s highly competitive job market, applicants and job seekers are particularly susceptible to these types of fake employment scams. If you or a loved one have been a victim of this scheme, I urge you to report the incident to my office’s Financial Frauds Bureau by calling (212) 335-8900.”

According to the indictments and documents filed in court, EWEKA and MCKAY met with victims – all of whom were seeking employment on Indeed.com, a job search website – and falsely claimed to provide job placement services on behalf of fake staffing agencies created by the defendants. EWEKA and MCKAY interviewed victims, offered them employment, and then told them that they must pay a fee for job-related expenses such as uniforms, training, licensing, and background checks before starting. Victims paid fees ranging from approximately $279 to $700 to the defendants, but never received uniforms, training, licenses, or employment. Overall, the defendants collected more than $54,000 from at least 250 victims as a result of the three schemes.

Trinity Advancement Group, LLC

From approximately January 26, 2018 through April 13, 2018, MCKAY orchestrated a scheme in which he met with victims under the alias “Tyrone Hayes” and falsely claimed to provide job placement services on behalf of Trinity Advancement Group LLC, a fake staffing agency. MCKAY informed victims that they had been hired after a brief interview at an office building at 48 Wall Street, but told them that they must pay for training or a background check before starting their new jobs. After victims paid MCKAY fees ranging from approximately $279 to approximately $700, he instructed them to complete a fire guard test with the New York City Fire Department, which he led them to believe was a prerequisite for the job. Some victims were then told to report to various companies for work or for training. When those victims arrived at the work sites, they, were turned away and told that the companies were not expecting them and had no relationship with Trinity Advancement Group LLC. Other victims simply never heard from MCKAY again.

Stanford Consulting Firm, LLC

From approximately March 3, 2018 to June 11, 2018, EWEKA orchestrated a scheme in which he met with victims under the alias “Sean Jackson” and falsely claimed to provide job placement services on behalf of Stanford Consulting Firm, LLC, a fake staffing agency. EWEKA informed victims that they had been hired after a brief interview at the Empire State Building, but told them that they must pay for licenses and training before starting their new jobs. As in the Trinity, scheme, after victims paid EWEKA fees ranging from approximately $289 to approximately $600, he instructed them to complete a fire guard test with the New York City Fire Department, which he led them to believe was a prerequisite for the job. Victims were then told to report to various companies for work or for training. When those victims arrived at the work sites, they were turned away and told that the companies were not expecting them and had no relationship with Stanford Consulting Firm, LLC. Other victims were sent to fake addresses. Others simply never heard from EWEKA again.

Howard Consulting Group, LLC

From approximately May 18, 2018 to June 12, 2018, EWEKA and MCKAY orchestrated a scheme in which they met with victims under their aliases and falsely claimed to provide job placement services on behalf of Howard Consulting Group, LLC, a fake staffing agency. The defendants informed victims that they had been hired after a brief interview at an office building at 521 Fifth Avenue, but told them that they must pay a fee before starting their new jobs. After victims paid EWEKA and MCKAY fees ranging from approximately $298 to approximately $600, the defendants instructed victims to complete a fire guard test with the New York Fire Department, which, as in the above schemes, they had led victims to believe was a prerequisite for the job. Victims tried to contact EWEKA and MCKAY after taking the test, but most were unable to do so. And when some victims returned to the office building on Fifth Avenue, they learned that the defendants were no longer there.

On April 25, 2018, MCKAY was arrested by the NYPD at his Bronx apartment in connection with his conduct at the Wall Street location. On May 31, 2018, EWEKA was arrested by the NYPD at the Fifth Avenue location in connection with his conduct at the Empire State Building. These indictments are the result of an investigation by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Financial Frauds Bureau and the NYPD. The investigation into these matters is ongoing.

Assistant D.A. Catherine McCaw is handling the prosecution of the cases under the supervision of Assistant D.A.s Gloria Garcia, Deputy Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau, and Archana Rao, Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau, as well as Executive Assistant D.A. Michael Sachs, Chief of the Investigation Division. Investigative Analyst Michelle Lepkofker and Rackets Investigators Maria Coyt-Freda and Thomas Piazza are also providing assistance with the investigations.

District Attorney Vance thanked the following members of the NYPD for their assistance on the cases: Detective Thomas Lazarus of the NYPD’s 1st Precinct Detective Squad; Detectives Adrian Calemmo, Matthew Forger, and Brian Pettit of the Manhattan South Detective Squad; and Detectives Andrew Smith and Matthew Hauswirth of the Warrants Squad.

[1] The charges contained in the indictment are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

 

Defendant Information:

OSMOND EWEKA, a/k/a “Sean Jackson,” a/k/a “Mike,” D.O.B. 2/10/1987

Montclair, NJ

Charged:

  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, four counts
  • Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, eight counts

 

KAMEL MCKAY, a/k/a “Tyrone Hayes,” a/k/a “Maurice,” D.O.B. 4/15/1991

Bronx, NY

Charged:

  • Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree, a class E felony, four counts
  • Petit Larceny, a class A misdemeanor, 11 counts