Jury convicts Nigerian for presenting fake British documents to open local bank accounts
HOUSTON – A jury has returned a guilty verdict against a 57-year-old Nigerian man for committing passport fraud, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. The jury deliberated for one hour before convicting Ademola Okulaja, Kingwood, following a two-day trial.
On June 6, 2016, Okulaja opened a checking account at a Houston branch of the International Bank of Commerce (IBC). At that time, he claimed to be a British citizen known as “Michael Millet” and provided the bank with a fraudulent passport the United Kingdon purportedly issued.
Okulaja entered a different IBC Branch in Houston on Nov. 21, 2016, and opened another checking account. This time, he used the name “David Allen” and presented another fraudulent British passport.
The defense conceded the passports were counterfeit, but attempted to convince the jury Okulaja was not the person presenting those passports to open the accounts. The jury was not convinced and found him guilty as charged.
U.S. District Judge Gray Miller presided over the trial and set sentencing for Jan. 23, 2020. At that time, Okulaja faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $250,000 fine. He was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Sandel and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay Hileman prosecuted the case.