By Judith Gicobi
This week, articles about Kenyans who were charged with and found guilty of committing financial crimes in the United States have flooded both American and Kenyan media channels.
There are two Kenyan nurses among them who are charged with participating in a Ksh.12 billion (USD 100 million) home health care fraud scheme.
Winnie Waruru, one of them, entered a guilty plea to six counts in federal court in Boston on September 8; Faith Newton, another one of them who was detained and accused alongside Waruru, entered a not guilty plea and is awaiting trial.
Out of the over 47 people indicted in the United States in what has been called the biggest COVID-19-related scandal to date, 11 Kenyans have been identified.
The perpetrators in this case are suspected of stealing USD 250 million (about Ksh. 30 billion) intended for feeding children during the COVID-19 pandemic and investing the money in other nations, including the US, without providing even a single meal to the hungry kids.
However, they are not the only Kenyans who have been charged with financial misconduct.
Oscar Kipkirui Ng’eno was charged with ten counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy in April of this year for allegedly participating in a scheme to defraud the Bernalillo County government in New Mexico, the United States.
According to the allegations, the county allegedly transferred payments totaling $447,372.89 (Ksh. 54 million) to Ng’eno’s account between October and December 2019.
He allegedly subsequently gave some of the money to his accomplices, including by writing checks totaling $98,930. (Ksh.12 million).
The 41-year-old, who was in the country on an immigrant visa, may spend up to 20 years in jail if found guilty on all counts.
Robert Mutua Muli, an Ohio resident, admitted guilt in 2019 to planning to defraud local and state agencies of millions of dollars.
In 2019, an additional anonymous Kenyan who had stolen from the US government was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined Ksh.25 million.
The defendant was apprehended in September 2016 while attempting to leave after committing offenses that included stealing Ksh. 7.7 million from the US Treasury at the Los Angeles Airport in California.
He was also found guilty of taking a second Treasury refund check from a 2012 electronically filed return.
Even while it could appear like the grass is greener on the other side, the reality for Kenyans guilty of financial fraud schemes is extremely different.