BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Windsor Mill man on Friday pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges stemming from his role in a bogus website purporting to sell COVID-19 vaccines, the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
According to his plea agreement, Odunayo “Baba” Oluwalade, 25, was tasked with getting bank accounts to use.READ MORE: Maryland Weather: Mild Saturday, With Temps Dropping Sunday
“Oluwalade admitted that he knew the bank account would be used for a fraud scheme, but was not aware of the specifics of the scheme,” prosecutors said. “The scheme called for Oluwalade to be compensated for his role in obtaining bank accounts for use in the scheme.”
The fake website, named “Modernatx.shop,” included trademarked logos and a message that read “YOU MAY BE ABLE TO BUY A COVID-19 VACCINE AHEAD OF TIME,” with a link to “Contact us,” prosecutors said.
Oluwalade admitted he was asked to get back accounts for the scheme last November.
On Nov. 16, 2020, a co-conspirator told Oluwalade he knew someone who would let them use his account at Navy Federal Credit Union.READ MORE: Health Officials Urge Vaccination & Boosters As COVID-19 Rate Rises, Omicron Arrives In Maryland
On Jan. 11, an undercover agent with Homeland Security Investigations contacted administrators of the site and exchanged several emails to arrange a sale of 200 vaccines at $30 per dose. The agent was instructed to send money to the Navy Federal Credit Union account, with 50% due up front and the other half due at delivery, prosecutors said.
Four days later, agents seized the domain and executed a series of search warrants, including one on the home of the man with the Navy Federal Credit Union account.
Agents used the man’s phone to text Oluwalade, “Yo where u want me send the bread?”
According to prosecutors, Oluwalade replied, “Yea send me some thru zelle and some through cash app.”
Oluwalade provided his Cash App username and agents sent a transfer, prosecutors said.MORE NEWS: Maryland Has Three Confirmed Cases Of The Omicron Variant Of COVID-19, Hogan Says
Oluwalade faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud conspiracy. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.