One half of a Nigerian couple, Ivie Shevon Sajere, 38, accused of stealing nearly $1 million from the federal government through bogus applications for retirement benefits and disaster aid has been sentenced to prison.
According to reports, Ivie, who lives in Suwanee, Georgia, will spend two years and six months in federal prison after she pleaded guilty to her role in the alleged scam last year, a district court judge said.
She was also ordered to pay $949,616 in restitution. The government’s case against her husband, Neville Sajere, is ongoing as he “appears to have fled the United States and avoided prosecution,” according to court filings.
Prosecutors in the Northern District of Georgia said Ivie Sajere’s alleged involvement in the scheme started in June 2017 until September 2018. According to U.S. Attorney Erskine, the defendant and her husband, Neville, engaged in marriage fraud in an unsuccessful attempt to become U.S. citizens, participated in a money laundering scheme that defrauded nearly a million dollars from SSA and FEMA.
According to the government, unknown individuals used stolen personal information to file applications online for Social Security retirement benefits and Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief aid. Those same individuals also opened bogus accounts with Go Bank, a financial institution that uses prepaid debit cards known as Green Dot cards, into which the Social Security and FEMA funds could be deposited.
Neville Sajere had control over the Green Dot cards that belonged to those accounts and used them on at least two occasions to buy airline tickets, according to the indictment. Once the money hit the Green Dot card, prosecutors said, Ivie Sajere funneled the cash through one of their three businesses: Nevada Bridge TV, the streaming service and production company owned by her husband; BAGMA, the gospel award show business also owned by her husband; and Shevonz, the clothing store she owned.