Identity Thieves Sentenced for Taking over Bank Accounts
Defendants Stole Over $1.4 Million from Victims’ Accounts
ATLANTA – A total of five defendants were sentenced today and last Thursday for using fake driver’s licenses to withdraw almost $1.5 million from victims’ bank accounts. The defendants were convicted of conspiracy, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft after pleading guilty.
United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, “The defendants tormented dozens of innocent victims who went to the bank only to discover that their accounts had been drained and identities stolen. The sentences imposed in this case appropriately reflect the severe damage done by identity thieves.”
“This case illustrates the negative impact that bank fraud and aggravated identity theft have on the citizens of the United States. The Secret Service will continue to aggressively pursue, with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, anyone that violates the trust that the public has in our economic system,” said Reginald G. Moore, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Atlanta Field Office.
Mark F. Giuliano, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “The defendants will now have plenty of time to contemplate the harm done by their aggressive criminal enterprise. The FBI will continue to work with its various law enforcement partners in protecting financial institutions and their account holders from the criminal activities of identity thieves.”
According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: From February 2010 through August 2011, Gafar O. Kosoko Balogun ran an identity theft scheme in Atlanta that targeted various banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, SunTrust, and BB&T. Balogun first obtained individuals’ financial account information, typically over the Internet from public web sites. He went to credit reporting sites and guessed the answers to individuals’ security questions to gain access to their credit reports, and went to other sites to collect business information and tax identification numbers. Balogun would then call the bank and impersonate the true account holder to find out the account balance of the victim.
Balogun provided the account information to Donish Adkins, Orlon Hall, Christian Okafor, and Wayne Cunningham, who in turn recruited “runners” to go into the banks and withdraw money from the victims’ accounts. Balogun supplied fake driver’s licenses to the runners, which they used to impersonate the account holders while in the banks. In addition to recruiting co-conspirators, Cunningham also entered banks and made withdrawals from victims’ accounts. After paying the runners about $500 per transaction, the defendants shared the remainder of the criminal proceeds. The investigation has linked over $2.7 million in actual and attempted withdrawals from over 60 accounts to the scheme. The defendants succeeded in getting over $1.4 million from these accounts.
United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash, Jr. sentenced Balogun, Adkins, Hall and Cunningham on Thursday, January 31, and sentenced Okafor today:
- Gafar O. Kosoko Balogun, 30, of Atlanta, Georgia, was sentenced to 6 years, 6 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $1,485,660.68 in restitution.
- Donish Adkins, 35, of Johns Creek, Georgia, was sentenced to 5 years, 3 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $527,293.31 in restitution.
- Orlon Hall, 32, of Alpharetta, Georgia, was sentenced to 5 years, 10 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $698,943.31 in restitution.
- Wayne Cunningham, 53, of College Park, Georgia, was sentenced to 7 years, 3 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $46,860 in restitution.
- Christian Okafor, 36, of Duluth, Georgia, was sentenced to 3 years, 10 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $97,030.99 in restitution.
This case was investigated by Special Agents of the United States Secret Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Stephen H. McClain and former Assistant United States Attorney Nick Oldham prosecuted the case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Information Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the HomePage for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia is www.justice.gov/usao/gan.