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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 26, 2014

Lanham Man Sentenced To 45 Months In Prison For Bank Fraud Conspiracy Where He Took Control Of Victim Bank Accounts



Baltimore, Maryland – U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz sentenced Baldwin Nnamdi Chukweum Osuji, age 26, of Lanham, Maryland, today to 45 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and for aggravated identity theft. Judge Motz also ordered Osuji to pay restitution of $128,256.21.

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

According to his plea, from May 2011 through April 2013, Osuji participated in a scheme to defraud financial institutions by using victims’ personal identification information and impersonating the victims in phone calls with the bank. Specifically, Osuji called financial institutions and impersonated victims, using the victims’ personal information, which he obtained from a third party, to gain access to the victims’ bank accounts.

Once access was granted to victim bank accounts, Osuji changed the online identification and password and took over control of the bank account. Osuji obtained images of the victims’ checks online and used those images to reproduce fraudulent checks, using the bank account information of the victims as well as means of identification of the victims, for example, their names and signatures.

Osuji and others then deposited these fraudulent checks into bank accounts of co-conspirators, and using the co-conspirators’ personal information withdrew and attempted to withdraw cash from these accounts.

On April 5, 2013, a federal search warrant was executed at Osuji’s residence. Law enforcement recovered from his home and his computer various debit cards used in connection with the scheme, copies of fraudulent checks, check stock for making fraudulent checks, and documents detailing victim account information.

Osuji admitted that he defrauded and/or utilized the personal identifying information of at least 56 individuals. The actual loss associated with the fraud is approximately $128,256.21.

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 commended the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel M. Yasser and P. Michael Cunningham, who prosecuted the case.

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Updated January 26, 2015