Samuel Akinhanmi called our company posing as an employee of the University of Southern California. His story was that USC needed some machine learning software applications built and that they were interested in acquiring our software company to be in-house at the university. Their alleged motivation for acquiring us was due to the required privacy of the students’ data they would need to give us access to in order to build the apps. | Samuel later explained that his consultancy, Akinhanmi Enterprises, would actually be doing the acquiring, but that his company was also owned by the university, allowing us all to be under the university’s legal umbrella. His story was that he was a star student that had a full ride and as a result, had access to the university’s trustees who were funding the software and our acquisition. | After months of negotiation, my company’s M&A attorney drew up a contract that would temporary grant ownership of our agency to Akinhanmi Enterprises / Akinhanmi Technologies, however, several protections were built in to ensure he could do no harm while controlling the agency. | Our contract included the clause that after a period of two years, we would have an option to buy back our company for a nominal amount. In the meantime, we would have the option to take back the company at any point if things weren’t working out in exchange for repaying a prorated portion of the acquisition deposit. | However, shortly after signing the stock purchase agreement over to Samuel in exchange for $5.5M, he backdated the contract by a year, edited the protections, and changed the purchasing party name to his mother, Florence Akinhanmi. | He was successful in taking out hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans in our company’s name using his edited contract, something he was prohibited from doing due to our buy-back clauses. Shortly after that, we found out about the loans via creditors calling the company number. Samuel denied all knowledge of loans saying it was all a big mistake. Later, he changed to story to his assistant mistakenly thought she was applying for a sweepstakes. After providing him with even more evidence, he later acknowledged the loans through his attorney and said he didn’t think we would find out since the other loan(s) he took out didn’t create liens on our business. Shortly after that, he stopped making payroll, fired all employees, and continues to approach our clients to collect receivables on our behalf. | I’ve since found that (unsurprisingly) USC was not his employer or client, and also found other companies he approached with the same attempted scam to take control of their company as they build rideshare software. | I feel this is a modernized take on the traditional Nigerian scam where someone attempts to gain credibiliity through lies and then takes advantage of honest people through logistics of interstate borders and the challenges of law enforcement. I met Samuel on several occasions and his cocky demeanor, cheap suits, and snake oil salesman mannerisms should have been a showstopper. Instead, we wanted to believe this young, Nigerian man was better than the stereotype of his country. We were wrong.