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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 24, 2014

Bladensburg Man Sentenced to over 16 Years in Prison in Bank Fraud Scheme

 
 


Greenbelt, Maryland - U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus sentenced Sherif Akande, age 36 of Bladensburg, Maryland, today to 199 months in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. Judge Titus also entered an order that Akande pay restitution of $111,052.67.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Kathy A. Michalko of the United States Secret Service - Washington Field Office; and Postal Inspector in Charge Gary R. Barksdale of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division.

According to the statement of facts to which Mr. Akande agreed at his previous guilty plea, from January 2010 to May 2012, Sherif Akande, his brother Lateef Akande, and others recruited individuals to provide personal bank information regarding existing bank accounts in their names, or to open new accounts in their own names. Sherif Akande and others then caused third-party checks to be deposited into those bank accounts. For any of the checks that cleared, the co-conspirators would withdraw monies from those accounts.

For example, on September 20, 2010, Sherif Akande caused a co-conspirator to open a business account at a bank, and deposit a check in the amount of $43,750, drawn on the account of two unknowing victims. The memo line on the check contained the words “Final Settlement (Insurance)”, even though the co-conspirator had no insurance settlement—and had never met—the two victims.

Lateef Akande, age 36, of Bladensburg, Maryland, previously pleaded guilty to his participation in the scheme, was sentenced to 175 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $418,042. Antonio Holmes, age 29, of Washington, DC, also pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 30 months in prison, and ordered to pay restitution of $363,738.71.

Today’s announcement is part of efforts underway by President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF) which was created in November 2009 to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud. Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations. Since the inception of FFETF in November 2009, the Justice Department has filed more than 12,841 financial fraud cases against nearly 18,737 defendants including nearly 3,500 mortgage fraud defendants. For more information on the task force, visit www.stopfraud.gov.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys David I. Salem and Thomas P. Windom, and Special Assistant United States Attorney Margaret Moeser, of the U.S. Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture & Money Laundering Section, who prosecuted the case.

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Updated January 27, 2015