MINNEAPOLIS - Two men who swindled $50 million from more than 500 people around the world in a bank fraud conspiracy were sentenced Monday in federal court in Minneapolis.
Forty-four-year-old Julian Okeayaninneh, of Colton, Calif., the leader of the operation, was sentenced to 324 months in federal prison. Thirty-six-year-old Olugbenga Temidago Adeniran of New York received a 266-month sentence.
Okeayaninneh was convicted of one count of bank fraud conspiracy, 11 counts of bank fraud, six counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud, four counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of money laundering conspiracy and one count of trafficking in false authentication features.
The fraud scheme was carried out in Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, Arizona, New York and Texas between 2006 and 2011. Through the fraud, Okeayaninneh and Adeniran attempted to victimize multiple banks and credit card companies including American Express, Associated Bank, Bank of America, Capital One, Guaranty Bank, JP Morgan Chase Bank, TCF Bank, US Bank, Wachovia Bank, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo.
The two men bought and sold stolen bank-customer information that was ultimately used to open fraudulent bank and credit card accounts, apply for loans and obtain cash.
"This is one of the largest frauds I've ever seen," United States District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis said. "The sophisticated means used and the use of bank insiders in this fraud is troubling to the court.
"You are the leader, and it's a sad day that I have to send someone to prison for such a long time. But you deserve the sentence you receive," Judge Davis told Okeayaninneh.
Adeniran was convicted of one count of bank fraud conspiracy, four counts of bank fraud, and four counts of aggravated identity theft.
U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said the sentences "send a clear message to those identity thieves and fraudsters who conspire with dishonest bank employees to wreak havoc on the personal finances of innocent customers."
Jones wrote in a statement Okeayaninneh and Adeniran also acquired cash from the fraudulent credit card accounts they established and used the false credit cards to purchase merchandise. Moreover, they co-opted home equity lines of credit without the knowledge or consent of the true account holders, using the lines of credit for their personal benefit.
Okeayaninneh and Adeniran were charged in June of 2011 and convicted in February.
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