Nigerian man admits committing $6m fraud across 12 banks in US
Nigerian man based in the United States, Tunde Adeowo, has admitted he played a role in a bank fraud conspiracy that targeted 12 financial institutions in southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania.
The 41-year-old Adeowo, who was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court.
A court document on the website of the United States Department of Justice explained, “From in or about December 2016 through in or about June 2020, in Camden and Mercer County, in the District of New Jersey, and elsewhere, the defendant, Tunde Adeowo, knowingly and intentionally conspired and agreed with others to execute and attempt to execute a scheme and artifice to defraud a financial institution, the deposits of which were then insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and to obtain monies, funds, assets and other property owned by, and under the custody and control of, such financial institution, by means of materially false and fraudulent pretences, representations, and promises, contrary to Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344.”
He was part of a Nigerian-based, multi-layered criminal organization that engaged in a massive bank fraud conspiracy in several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Rhode Island, between June 2016 and March 2020, a statement on the DOJ website noted.
Adeowo and his gang were said to have, during the period, acquired numerous business checks that were stolen from the United States mail, after which they changed the payee’s name to a fraudulent name.
“They subsequently deposited the checks into bank accounts that had been opened with forged foreign passport documents and fraudulent U.S. visas that matched the names on the stolen checks.
“Once the banks credited all or a portion of the funds to the accounts, but before the checks had cleared, the defendants withdrew the funds from ATMs or purchased money orders, using debit cards associated with the fraudulent accounts,” it added.
Over 400 fraudulent accounts were opened by Adeowo’s gang with fake identity documents to defraud the victim banks. The bank’s losses have been approximated to $6 million (N2.5billion).
“As part of his plea, Adeowo agreed to forfeit his interest in approximately $90,000 worth of money orders which were proceeds of the bank fraud and which were seized from a public storage facility in Philadelphia used by the conspirators to store additional fraudulent identity documents and proceeds of the bank fraud.
“The bank fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 11, 2022.”
Meanwhile, two of Adeowo’s partners have previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing before Judge Hillman. “Charges against nine other defendants remain pending before the District Court,” the statement said.
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