Sept. 11, 2009
INTERNATIONAL IDENTITY THEFT SCHEME EARNS DEFENDANT LENGTHY PRISON TERM
Scheme targeted thousands of victims and caused millions in losses to financial institutions
(HOUSTON) – Koleowo Adeyemi Adesoye, 28, of Houston, was sentenced to 13 ½ years in federal prison without parole for his involvement in planning and executing an international identity theft scheme causing $2 million in losses to financial institutions, United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced today.
United States District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. handed down the prison term which includes 138 months for the each of five bank fraud convictions to be served concurrently and a mandatory consecutive 24 months for the aggravated identity theft conviction at a hearing this morning. The prison term is to followed by a five-year-term of supervised release. The court also ordered Adesoye pay a total of $968,974 in restitution to affected financial institutions.
During the fall of 2008, Adesoye, a Nigerian national and naturalized citizen of the United States, was involved in a scheme to defraud account holders at various financial institutions involving the transfer of funds out of the accounts of legitimate account holders to accounts controlled by Adesoye and others. Adesoye’s accounts were located at financial institutions across the United States and overseas including South Korea In October 2008. United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Inspectors were tipped off to the fraud scheme by one of victim financial institutions and initiated an investigation.
On Oct. 22, 2008, USPIS inspectors executed a search warrant on Adesoye’s residence and found the personal identification information for thousands of victims located on electronic storage devices including flash drives as well as a cellular telephones used to access the customer accounts. In addition, inspectors found equipment to manufacture credit cards including a skimmer and a large amount of stolen mail and correspondence from financial institutions. USPIS Inspectors also located wire transfer authorization forms that corresponded with the five wire transfers charged as substantive bank fraud counts in the Indictment. The intended loss for the scheme was more than $10 million with an actual loss to financial institutions of approximately $2 million.
The sentence imposed included consideration of the court’s finding that Adesoye engaged in a massive fraud scheme that involved thousands of victims and more than a $10 million risk of loss to financial institutions and the items found in his possession -- flash drives filled with identification information, numerous cell phones, items to create false documents, credit card re-encoding equipment, credit cards, credit reports and stolen mail.
Adesoye was arrested on Oct. 22, 2008, following the search of his residence and has remained in federal custody without bond since his arrest. He pleaded guilty to the five substantive counts of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft on April 16, 2009.
This case was investigated by the USPIS and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan D. McConnell.
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