Two Defendants Convicted in Identity Theft Scheme

A jury in Atlanta’s federal district court returned a guilty verdict late Thursday against Opeoluwa Adigun, age unknown, and Chukwuka Onyekaba, also known as Gabriel Onyekaba, 34, both of Marietta on charges of stealing the identities of more than 85 individuals in the Atlanta area.

According to United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, between May 2006 and March 2010, Adigun and Onyekaba stole mail, credit cards, and other personal information from individuals in the Atlanta area, and then opened a variety of financial accounts under the victims’ names. As part of the scheme, Adigun obtained a job as a mail carrier in the Hiram Post Office under the name “Mary Afolabi,” an identity she had stolen from another person from Nigeria before she entered the United States in 2004.

Adigun obtained a Social Security card and a U.S. passport and, in March 2009, was naturalized as a U.S. citizen—all under the assumed name of “Mary Afolabi.”

Using the information stolen from the mail route customers, Adigun and Onyekaba applied for credit cards and bank loans in their victims’ names. They deposited the fraudulent loan proceeds into bank accounts opened under yet other victims’ names and then 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 individuals residing on Adigun’s mail route.

After a seven-day trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all 44 counts it considered, including conspiracy, access device or credit card fraud, aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, mail theft, immigration fraud, Social Security fraud, and passport fraud. The charges carry maximum sentences that range from five to 30 years in prison each, and fines of up to $1,000,000 per count. The aggravated identity theft charges require a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in addition to any other sentence imposed. 

Adigun was also convicted of immigration, Social Security, and passport fraud.

“The Paulding County Sheriff’s Office, the investigating officer and I are all very happy with the verdict rendered by this jury,” Paulding County Sheriff Gary Gulledge said. “It is always rewarding to see our justice system work as intended—to hold the guilty accountable and protect the innocent public from further harm. It is also satisfying to see resolution brought to the 85-plus victims of the crimes committed by Opeoluwa Adigun and Chukwuka Onyekaba. This case is the perfect example of good police work, inter-agency cooperation, careful prosecuting and an intelligent jury. I commend all involved for the great work and great result.”

Sentencing has not yet been scheduled before U.S. District Judge Richard W. Story.

“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. These defendants ran a sophisticated identity theft scheme that included opening multiple accounts in victims’ names, moving the criminal proceeds among different banks in victim names, using fake identifications, and buying ordinary gift cards with stolen credit cards to conceal the source of the proceeds. The jury’s verdict brings some measure of justice to the many victims of these two defendants’ crimes,” Yates said.

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

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One Response to “Two Defendants Convicted in Identity Theft Scheme”

  1. Nizar says:

    Usually you are not legally mecpellod to provide your Social Security number to private businesses unless you are involved in a transaction in which the Internal Revenue Service requires notification. The Patriot Act requires financial institutions to verify customers’ identities, which can involve the SSN.There is no law, however, that prevents businesses from requesting your SSN, and there are few restrictions on what businesses can do with it. But even though you are not legally required to disclose your SSN, the business does not have to provide you with service if you refuse to release it. So in a sense, you are strong-armed into giving your SSN. This is often the case when applying for insurance and opening utility accounts.But don’t give up. Be sure to ask if there is an alternate number that you can provide to the company, such as your driver’s license number. Also ask if you can provide a deposit rather than giving your SSN to the company. Generally they only ask if they are looking to run your credit report, which most insurance companies will do when evaluating you for coverage.

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