Maryland men charged with stealing $8M in disaster aid funds

A federal grand jury has indicted two Maryland men on charges they stole the identities of natural disaster victims and fraudulently registered for millions of dollars in life-saving relief funds.

Federal prosecutor Robert K. Hur stated Friday the grand jury returned an indictment on John Irogho for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and charged Irogho and Odinaka Ekeocha with conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The indictment accuses the two of being part of a ring that stole the information of natural disaster victims and withdrew federal emergency funds earmarked for purchasing life-saving materials.

The men are accused of scamming more than $8 million from the government that was entitled to victims between 2016 and 2018 as wildfires and hurricanes devastated millions.

If convicted, Irogho faces 50 years in prison and Ekeocha faces 20.