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Press Release

Credit Card Company Employee Sentenced in Bank Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maryland
Stole Customers’ Credit Card/Personal Information Which Co-Conspirators Used to Make Fraudulent Purchases

Greenbelt, Maryland – U.S. District Judge George J. Hazel sentenced Godfred Obeng, age 38, of Glen Allen, Virginia today to three years in prison followed by five years of supervised release for conspiring to commit bank fraud, using an unauthorized access device and aggravated identity theft. Judge Hazel also ordered Obeng to pay restitution of $338,548.45.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Postal Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; and John L. Phillips, Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, U.S. Department of the Treasury - Office of Inspector General.

According to his plea agreement and court documents, Obeng was an account services specialist at Capital One Bank, which issued credit card accounts to individuals.  Beginning in June 2012, Obeng accessed customer accounts to steal the account numbers, cardholders’ names and addresses.  Obeng shared this information with coconspirator Leslie Okyere in return for payment.  From at least January 2012 to March 2013, other coconspirators used these credit card numbers, belonging to over 50 victims, to make fraudulent purchases by phone with The Home Depot.

For example, coconspirator Awah Essem recruited college students, promising that they could make some easy money.  Essem directed the recruits to open a bank account and provide the bank account information to him. Essem told the recruits that money would be transferred into these accounts from The Home Depot.  A conspirator would order materials with Home Depot stores, supplying a victim’s credit card information stolen by Obeng.  Within a few days, a conspirator canceled the order and requested that the refund be placed on the coconspirator’s debit card, including the debit cards of coconspirators recruited by Essem.

The recruits, including Stanley Nmesirionye, Dosis Feludu and Gideon Turkson, would be required to withdraw the majority of the money from the bank account to give to Essem.  The recruit could keep a portion, in some cases as much as $300.

During the course of the fraud scheme, the total loss attributable to Obeng’s conduct was at least $338,548.45. 

Bertrand Awah Essem, age 27, of Beltsville, Maryland; Stanley Nmesirionye, age 24, of Owings Mills, Maryland; Dosis Feludu, age 25, of Salisbury, Maryland; Gideon Turkson age 24, of Burtonsville, Maryland and Leslie Okyere, age 33, of Hyattsville, previously pleaded guilty to their participation in the fraud scheme.  Essem was sentenced on February 5, 2016 to 27 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $264,757.29.  The remaining defendants await sentencing.

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

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Department of the Treasury – OIG for their work in the investigation.  Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan E. Foreman, who prosecuted the case.

Updated April 14, 2016

Financial Fraud
Identity Theft