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Press Release

Nigerian National Sentenced to Prison for Bank Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio
Scheme Involved Selling Stolen Personal Identifiable Information

CLEVELAND  –  A Nigerian national was sentenced today to more than three years – or 37 months – in prison by U.S. District Judge James S. Gwin after he was convicted by a jury of formulating a conspiracy to obtain stolen financial information, making fraudulent and unauthorized purchases of retail goods and gift cards, and stealing funds from victim bank accounts in Northern Ohio and elsewhere.

Blessing Adeleke, 31, of Nigeria, was convicted in October 2022 of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and 16 counts of bank fraud.

According to court documents, between January 2014 through October 2016, Adeleke served as an administrator for an online marketplace, Shad0w.info, where compromised data, such as credit numbers and personally identifiable information (PII), were sold.

As part of the conspiracy, Adeleke and others obtained stolen credit card information and purchased items, such as retail goods and gift cards for themselves.  Adeleke shared this stolen credit card information with others, including co-defendant Kylie Ann Harlow.

Court documents state that Adeleke and Harlow shipped retail goods purchased with the stolen financial information to Harlow and others and, in some instances, returned the goods and gift cards to retail stores to obtain cash.  Adeleke and Harlow eventually forwarded the fraudulently obtained goods, gift cards, and money to other members of the conspiracy for their personal enrichment.

Adeleke gained access to at least one bank account belonging to a victim in Pepper Pike, Ohio, from which he sent 16 fraudulent checks. 

Kylie Ann Harlow previously pleaded guilty to her role in the scheme and was sentenced in June 2021.

This case was investigated by the Cleveland FBI and was  prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brian S. Deckert and Daniel J. Riedl.

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs provided significant support and assistance in securing the defendant’s arrest and extradition from Ghana. The U.S. Department of Justice thanks its Ghanian partners, specifically the Ministry of Interior and the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice, for supporting this extradition.  The FBI Legal Attaché in Accra and the U.S. Marshals Service also provided significant support and assistance to Adeleke’s extradition.

Contact

Daniel Ball

Daniel.Ball@usdoj.gov 

Updated January 18, 2023

Topics
Financial Fraud