FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2012
NEWARK, N.J. – A Georgia resident was sentenced today to 70 months in prison for his role in a computer fraud and identity theft “phishing” scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Osarhieme Uyi Obaygbona, 33, of Atlanta, Ga., previously was convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit identity theft, and conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers following a two-week trial before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini. Judge Martini imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court and the evidence presented at trial:
“Phishing” attacks use fraudulent web pages that mimic the legitimate web pages of ecommerce companies, such as banks and payroll processors. Internet scammers trick unwitting customers of those companies into visiting the fake web pages and providing confidential personal and financial information, including names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, and online account user names and passwords (“Stolen Identifiers”). The Stolen Identifiers are then used to make unauthorized withdrawals from victim accounts.
Obaygbona was provided with Stolen Identifiers by his conspirator, Waya Nwaki, who received them from a foreign computer hacker who deployed phishing websites across the Internet. Obaygbona then used the Stolen Identifiers to make unauthorized withdrawals from victims’ accounts. Obaygbona used some of the Stolen Identifiers to create fake driver’s licenses, with which conspirators could impersonate victims at bank branches. Obaygbona also used the Stolen Identifiers to gain access to the victims’ online accounts, where he could view victim signatures on check images and then forge checks and withdrawal slips in furtherance of fraudulent withdrawals.
In addition to the prison term, Judge Martini also sentenced Obaygbona to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $97,632.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Michael B. Ward in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentence. He also thanked special agents of the FBI's Atlanta Division, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin, and the Alpharetta, Ga., Police Department, under the direction of Director of Public Safety Gary George, for their assistance in the investigation.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher J. Kelly of the Economic Crimes Unit and Andrew S. Pak of the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Section.
Defense counsel: Olubukola O. Adetula Esq., Irvington, N.J.