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Press Release

Brooklyn, New York Resident Sentenced to Over Five Years In Prison for Credit Card Fraud Scheme Spanning Eight States

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Odere Suleitopa, age 33, a Nigerian national residing in Brooklyn, New York, today to 63 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for 18 counts of wire fraud and five counts of aggravated identity theft arising from a three-year credit card fraud scheme. A federal jury convicted Suleitopa on October 27, 2016, after a four-day trial. Judge Motz entered an order requiring Suleitopa to pay restitution of $140,000, and to forfeit over $1,000 and cellular telephones seized during the investigation.

 

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Easton Police Department Chief David A. Spencer; and Talbot County State’s Attorney Scott G. Patterson.

 

According to the evidence presented at his four day trial, Suleitopa obtained credit cards with his name embossed on them, but with the account numbers that had been stolen. The magnetic strip on the fraudulent cards were disabled. Suleitopa went to retail stores and used the fraudulent cards to purchase gift cards and merchandise. The evidence showed that on October 29, 2015, Suleitopa completed three fraudulent transactions in Alexandria, Virginia, totaling $5,814.08. Between November 9 and November 17, 2015, the evidence showed that Suleitopa completed 26 transactions using the fraudulent credit cards – eight in Delaware, and 18 in Easton and Denton, Maryland. The total purchases were over $44,000.

 

On December 23, 2015, Suleitopa made over $4,000 of purchases of high end electronics and gift cards at a retail store in in Gardner, Massachusetts, using the fraudulent credit cards. He was arrested on January 13, 2016, after returning to the same store and attempting to make additional purchases with the fraudulent cards.

 

Over the course of the scheme, which spanned eight states from New Hampshire to Georgia, more than 15 victims had their credit card accounts compromised and losses were in excess of $190,000.

 

Today’s announcement is part of the efforts undertaken in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force. The task force was established 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 fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants. For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.

 

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended HSI-Baltimore, the Easton Police Department, and Talbot County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation, and recognized the Gardner, Massachusetts Police Department, the Spartanburg County and Berkeley County (South Carolina) Sheriff’s Offices, and the Summerville, South Carolina Police Department for their assistance in the investigation and prosecution. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Judson T. Mihok and Menaka Kalaskar, who prosecuted the case.

 

Updated March 10, 2017

Topics
Identity Theft
StopFraud