Marietta Defendants Convicted in Identity Theft Scheme
A mail carrier obtained U.S. citizenship under stolen identity and then stole the identities of over 85 victims.
A jury in Atlanta's federal district court returned a guilty verdict late Thursday against Opeoluwa Adigun, age unknown, and Chukwuka Onyekaba, a/k/a Gabriel Onyekaba, 34, both of Marietta, on charges of stealing the identities of more than 85 individuals in the Atlanta area.
According to United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, between May 2006 and March 2010, Adigun and Onyekaba stole mail, credit cards, and other personal information from individuals in the Atlanta area, and then opened a variety of financial accounts under the victims’ names. As part of the scheme, Adigun obtained a job as a mail carrier in the Hiram Post Office under the name “Mary Afolabi,” an identity she had stolen from another person from Nigeria before she entered the United States in 2004.
Adigun obtained a social security card and a U.S. passport and, in March 2009, was naturalized as a U.S. citizen–all under the assumed name of “Mary Afolabi.”
Using the information stolen from the mail route customers, Adigun and Onyekaba applied for credit cards and bank loans in their victims’ names. They deposited the fraudulent loan proceeds into bank accounts opened under yet other victims’ names and then wrote checks from those accounts to their two fraudulent businesses, GMO Auto Services in Douglasville and Gabmike Limousine Service in Smyrna. They also used the fraudulent credit cards at their businesses.
In March 2010, law enforcement officers stopped the defendants driving a Lincoln Navigator and found dozens of American Express, Walmart and Target gift cards that were purchased with stolen credit cards issued to individuals residing on Adigun's mail route.
After a seven day trial, the jury returned guilty verdicts on all 44 counts it considered, including conspiracy, access device or credit card fraud, aggravated identity theft, bank fraud, mail theft, immigration fraud, social security fraud, and passport fraud. The charges carry maximum sentences that range from five to 30 years in prison each, and fines of up to $1,000,000 per count. The aggravated identity theft charges require a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in addition to any other sentence imposed.
Adigun was also convicted of immigration, social security, and passport fraud.
Sentencing has not yet been scheduled before United States District Judge Richard W. Story.
“Identity theft is a growing problem that destroys the lives of innocent citizens, resulting in years of victimization as they try to clear their good names and credit of the damage done by the criminals. These defendants ran a sophisticated identity theft scheme that included opening multiple accounts in victims’ names, moving the criminal proceeds among different banks in victim names, using fake identifications, and buying ordinary gift cards with stolen credit cards to conceal the source of the proceeds. The jury’s verdict brings some measure of justice to the many victims of these two defendants’ crimes,” said Yates.
The case was investigated by the United States Postal Service, Office of Inspector General; United States Postal Inspection Service; United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; United States Secret Service; Social Security Administration; Paulding County Sheriff’s Office; Douglas County Sheriff’s Office; Cobb County Sheriff's Office; Hiram Police Department; and Cobb County Police Department.