News and Press Releases

Baltimore Man Pleads to Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud Ring

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2014

Four defendants convicted of scheme involving over 250 victims and $200,000 in losses

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Olanrewaju Abiola, 39, of Baltimore, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit access device fraud for participating in an identity theft and credit card fraud ring that operated in the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore region.

Dana J. Boente, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; and Valerie Parlave, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, made the announcement after the plea was accepted by U.S. District Judge Anthony J. Trenga.

In a statement of facts filed with the plea agreement, from at least as early as September 2010 through at least June 2012, Abiola conspired with others to purchase stolen credit card data on the Internet or through other means.  This stolen data was then unlawfully loaded onto gift cards or unlawfully encoded onto other credit or debit cards through the use of device-making equipment, such as credit card encoders.  The counterfeit credit cards often were embossed with aliases belonging to the members of the conspiracy, including the alias of “Sean White,” which was used by Abiola.

Abiola and his co-conspirators then took trips, sometimes together, to use the re-encoded gift, credit or debit cards to buy gift cards and other merchandise at legitimate merchant locations like Giant, Rite-Aid and Nordstrom in or around the Washington-Baltimore region.  Abiola and his co-conspirators often presented counterfeit driver’s licenses displaying various aliases when requested by store clerks.  The co-conspirators then returned the merchandise they purchased in order to convert the stolen data to cash.
The actions of Abiola and his co-conspirators involved more than 250 victims and resulted in at least $200,000 in actual and intended losses.

Three other individuals from Baltimore previously have pleaded guilty for their roles in the identity theft and credit card fraud ring: Rameesha Smith, 30, Patrick Fagbemi, 33, and Kentrala Fulton, 35.  Smith was sentenced to 38 months in prison on June 20, 2014 for her role in the scheme.  Fagbemi and Fulton will be sentenced on Sept. 5, 2014 and Oct. 17, 2014, respectively.  Abiola faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison when he is sentenced on Oct. 17, 2014.

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jasmine H. Yoon is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case Nos. 1:14-cr-241 (Fulton), 1:14-cr-240 (Abiola), 1:14-cr-222 (Fagbemi), and 1:14-cr-87 (Smith).

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