Married Couple Face Federal Indictment Over Range of Fraud Schemes Including Passport Fraud, Wire Fraud and Bankruptcy Fraud | USAO-MD


Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Andrews Oduro Brown, aka Andrews Oduro, 39, and Charmaine Miesha Brown, 43, both of Germantown, Maryland, with conspiracy to commit fraud in the passport and electronic fraud. , aggravated identity theft, fraudulent bankruptcy and misrepresentation in bankruptcy proceedings. The indictment was delivered on April 28, 2022 and unsealed upon the arrest of the defendants.

The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Mark Lewis, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the US Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, Washington Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Michael McGill of the Social Security Administration – Office of Inspector General, Philadelphia Field Division.

As detailed in the indictment, Andrews Oduro Brown aka Andrews Oduro was a Ghanaian national who entered the United States in May 2013. Oduro married Charmaine Miesha Brown, an American citizen, in January 2014 and in 2021, gained permanent resident status in the United States through her marriage to Brown. During this time, Oduro and Brown resided with Oduro’s two children, Child A and Child B, and four of Brown’s children, including Child C.

According to the five-count indictment, from December 2014 to April 2021, Oduro and Brown conspired to obtain U.S. passports for non-U.S. citizen family members who were ineligible to receive passports. such passports, using false declarations and fraudulent identity. documents. After the passports were issued based on the false and fraudulent applications, Oduro and Brown arranged for the non-US citizen family members to be transported to the United States using the fraudulently issued passports.

For example, on December 1, 2014, Brown allegedly submitted a passport application in the name of his son, Child C, but bearing the photo of Child A. The indictment alleges that Child A then used the fraudulent passport to enter the United States. states illegally. On March 16, 2015, Oduro and Brown allegedly applied for a passport in the name of Child A and submitted a false Ghanaian birth certificate, falsely stating that Brown was the mother of Child A, in support of the application. The indictment alleges that on March 17, 2020, Oduro and Brown applied for a passport in the name of Child B and again submitted a false Ghanaian birth certificate in support of the application falsely stating that Brown was the mother of Child B. On August 5, 2015, Oduro also allegedly submitted a passport application in the name of a US citizen, but bearing the photograph of Oduro’s brother, who is not a US citizen.

According to the indictment, from August 2016 to April 2021, Oduro and Brown conspired to receive child care subsidy program payments to which they were not entitled. The Child Care Subsidy Program reimbursed child care costs to low-income families and made direct payments to professional and informal child care providers for low-income families. The indictment alleges that Brown and Oduro falsely reported to the State of Maryland that Individual F, a friend, was surveilling their children, when in truth and in fact Oduro assumed the identity of the individual F to pose as a provider of paid child care for his own child and stepchildren. The indictment alleges that Oduro and Brown used the personally identifiable information (PII) of Individual F, without the victim’s knowledge or permission, to receive approximately $95,320 in payments of the child care subsidy program to which they were not entitled.

Finally, the indictment alleges that on March 5, 2018, Oduro and Brown defrauded creditors and the bankruptcy trustee, by filing a fraudulent petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy using the name and number of Individual F’s partial Social Security requesting the release of over $80,000 in tax debts and obligations to the State of Maryland that Oduro incurred using Individual F’s name and PII. June 21, 2018 , Oduro appeared at the discharge hearing in bankruptcy court and identified himself as Individual F, presenting a Pennsylvania driver’s license that Oduro had fraudulently obtained in the name of Individual F. of the fraudulent bankruptcy petition on behalf of Individual F, the indictment alleges that Oduro and Brown caused the entry of an order releasing approximately $49,317 of debts Oduro incurred in name of Individual F .

If convicted, Oduro and Brown each face a maximum sentence of 5 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit passport fraud; a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud; a mandatory two-year federal prison sentence, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for aggravated identity theft; a maximum of 5 years in prison for fraudulent bankruptcy; and a maximum of 5 years in prison for false declarations in bankruptcy. Actual sentences for federal crimes are generally lower than the maximum sentences. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

An indictment is not a verdict of guilty. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in subsequent criminal proceedings.

United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service, Office of Inspector General of Social Security Administration, and Office of Inspector General of Education of Maryland for their work in the investigation. Barron thanked Special Assistant United States Attorney Michael F. Davio, who is prosecuting the federal case.

For more information about the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and the resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-md and https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach.

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