ST. LOUIS – The COVID pandemic, like many crises before it, has seen its fair share of scammers, schemers, and confidence men wading into the chaos to commit fraud and take money away from the people and organizations who really need it.

On Tuesday, a 40-year-old St. Louis man was sentenced for operating two separate pandemic-related scams and obtaining more than $212,000 in fraudulently-obtained funds.

Prosecutors with the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Missouri said Prince Vamboi pleaded guilty on February 22, 2022, to three counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of bank fraud.

In 2019, Vamboi opened several bank accounts across the St. Louis area using aliases and counterfeit IDs. That same year, Vamboi deposited a $35,098 check that had been altered to replace the name of a Texas company with the name of one of his companies.

In 2020, one of Vamboi’s co-conspirators convinced Wisconsin-based Verona Safety Supply to send $159,000 to one of Vamboi’s bank accounts to pay for N-95 masks. The company never received the masks it had paid for.

In 2021, Vamboi obtained a loan in the amount of $18,750 from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was intended to help businesses avoid layoffs. Vamboi did not use the money as intended. He also deposited fraudulently-obtained unemployment insurance benefits from Washington state.

A U.S. District Court judge sentenced Vamboi to two years in federal prison.