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    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

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    Release No. 07-166

    December 19, 2007


    A North Hollywood man who sneaked into at least one dorm complex at USC, stole the identities of students and then ran up more than $400,000 in fraudulent credit card charges has been sentenced to 87 months in federal prison.

    Victor Igbineweka, 26, a recent immigrant from Belgium who is native to Nigeria, was sentenced Tuesday afternoon by United States District Judge J. Spencer Letts, who also ordered Igbineweka to pay $411,586.89 in restitution to the various banks he defrauded.

    Igbineweka pleaded guilty in September to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and money laundering, admitting that he set up a “front” business in North Hollywood to facilitate the identity theft scheme. Called Veromege Paintings, the store displayed mass produced paintings in the front window to make the business appear legitimate. In reality, Igbineweka set up the business to obtain credit card merchant accounts so he could accept payment by credit card.

    Igbineweka targeted USC and UCLA students in the identity theft scheme, with a witness seeing Igbineweka on one occasion gaining access to a USC student dorm, where he stole mail from the “return to sender” bin. Igbineweka used pre-approved credit card applications to apply for credit cards in the names of various students. He fraudulently obtained scores of credit cards in the names of dozens of students, and he used the cards to make more than $400,000 in fraudulent charges through the Veromege merchant account. Igbineweka took the money credited to Veromege by the credit card companies and wired a substantial portion of it to Nigeria and other countries.

    When federal agents searched Igbineweka’s apartment and arrested him in March, they discovered hundreds of pre-approved credit card applications and the personal information of hundreds of individuals.

    This case is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service and IRS – Criminal Investigation.


    Release No. 07-166
    Return to the 2007 Press Release Index