Stolen Mail Fueled ID Theft Scheme

A federal jury in Atlanta found Cobb County residents Opeoluwa Adigun and Chukwuka “Gabriel” Anyekaba guilty late Thursday of stealing the identities of more than 85 people in the Atlanta area.

From May 2006 to March 2010, U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, Adigun and Onyekaba, 34, both living in the Marietta area, stole mail, credit cards and other personal information and opened bank and other financial accounts in the victims’ names.

Identity theft is a growing problem that destroys the lives of innocent citizens, resulting in years of victimization as they try to clear their good names and credit of the damage done by the criminals,” Yates said. “The jury’s verdict brings some measure of justice to the many victims of these two defendants’ crimes.”

Adigun, whose age isn’t known, obtained a job as a mail carrier in the Hiram Post Office under the name “Mary Afolabi,” an identity she stole from another Nigerian before she entered the United States in 2004. Adigun got a Social Security card and a U.S. passport and became a citicen in March 2009 under her stolen identity.

Using the information stolen from the mail, Adigun and Onyekaba applied for credit cards and bank loans in victims’ names, then deposited the fraudulent loan proceeds into bank accounts opened under other victims’ names. They wrote checks from those accounts to their two fraudulent businesses, GMO Auto Services in Douglasville and Gabmike Limousine Service in Smyrna. They also used the fraudulent credit cards at their businesses.           

In March 2010, law enforcement officers stopped the defendants driving a Lincoln Navigator and found dozens of American Express, Walmart and Target gift cards that were purchased with stolen credit cards issued to people living on Adigun’s mail route.

“Opeoluwa Adigun reflects just a very small percentage of employees who failed to uphold the trust and integrity placed in them,” said Paul Bowman, area special agent in charge of the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.

After a seven-day trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all 44 counts, including conspiracy, access device or credit card fraud, aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, mail theft, immigration fraud, Social Security fraud and passport fraud.

Each charge carries a maximum prison sentence ranging from five to 30 years, plus a fine of up to $1 million. The aggravated identity theft convictions require a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in addition to any other sentence imposed. 

U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story will handle the sentencing.

The case was investigated by the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Secret Service, the Social Security Administration, the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office, the Hiram Police Department and the Cobb County Police Department.

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Article source: http://eastcobb.patch.com/articles/stolen-mail-fueled-id-theft-scheme

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