Nigerian Nationals Sentenced, Face Deportation Proceedings in Bank Fraud, Counterfeit Passport Scheme
PROVIDENCE, RI – Two Nigerian nationals who participated in a large-scale bank fraud and counterfeit passport scheme, with an intended loss of more than $1.2 million dollars, were sentenced today to 13 months in federal prison, announced United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Peter C. Fitzhugh.
Olugboyega Akinloye Fasanya, 36, of Woonsocket and Anthony Chidozie Ezike, 36, of Pawtucket, previously admitted to the Court that they participated in a scheme to defraud banks in Rhode Island and Massachusetts by acquiring and altering lawfully passed checks between commercial entities. The checks were altered to be made out to aliases used by Fasanya, Ezike and others, and deposited into bank accounts opened using the aliases. The accounts were opened using counterfeit passports from Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa as forms of identification. The funds were removed from the accounts prior to the fraud being detected by the financial institutions.
According to information presented to the Court, participants in the scheme deposited fraudulent checks and wires totaling approximately $1,267,000 and successfully obtained approximately $487,000 through withdrawals and debit purchases.
At sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith ordered Fasanya and Ezike to serve 3 years supervised release upon completion of their terms of incarceration. Additionally, Fasanya was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $379,362 and Ezike was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $228,730 to the banks they defrauded.
The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range of imprisonment in the matter of the United States of America v. Olugboyega Akinloye Fasanya is 18-24 months. The government recommended the court impose a sentence of 21 months in prison. The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range of imprisonment in the matter of the United States of America v. Anthony Chidozie Ezike is 21-27 months. The government recommended the court impose a sentence of 13 months in prison.
Fasanya and Ezike face deportation proceedings upon completion of their term of incarceration.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Lee H. Vilker.
The matter was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations with the assistance of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the Woonsocket, Pawtucket and Warwick Police Departments.