Africa

Cameroon’s Desmond Fodje Bobga pleads guilty to conspiracy to defraud online purchasers of pets

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Desmond Fodje Bobga, 28, of Cameroon pleaded guilty on November 10, 2021 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in a scheme to trick consumers from the United States into paying fees for pets that were never delivered. Extradited from Romania, he also pleaded guilty to using the new coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis as an excuse to extract higher fees from victims.

“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,” U.S. Department of Justice civil division acting assistant attorney general Brian M. Boynton said. “We are grateful to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for 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.”

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From around June 2018 to around June 2020, Bobga allegedly conspired with others to offer pets for sale on internet websites. He and his co-conspirators communicated by text message and email with potential victims to induce purchases.

Following each purchase, Bobga and his co-conspirators claimed that a transportation company would deliver the pet and provided a false tracking number for the pet. Posing as the transportation company, they then claimed the pet transport was delayed and that the victim needed to pay additional money for delivery of the pet.

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Scheduled to be sentenced on April 8, 2022, Bobga faces a maximum of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Bobga and his co-conspirators never delivered any pets after receiving money directly and indirectly through wire communications from the victims. Some of the victims were told that they needed to pay more money for delivery because the pet had been exposed to COVID-19. 

One of the victims is a woman from New Brighton, Pennsylvania, USA. She was seeking to purchase a mini-dachshund for her mother in March 2020.

The woman was induced to pay $9,100 due to false claims that the pet was being shipped, needed insurance and was exposed to COVID-19. Also in March 2020, another female victim from Fruitland, Iowa, USA was seeking to purchase a mini-dachshund for herself and false claims induced her to lose $1,840.

Those who believe they were a victim of Bobga and his co-conspirators are asked to contact the Victim Witness Coordinator at 412-894-7400 or through the U.S. Department of Justice.

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