Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury in Maryland today indicted two Nigerian nationals, Johnson B. Ogunlana, age 24, of Middle River, Maryland, and Samson A. Oguntuyi, age 29, of Atlanta, Georgia, on the federal charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud, access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, theft of mail by a postal employee and destruction of mail by a postal employee.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Imari R. Niles of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General; Postal Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division; and Special Agent in Charge J. Russell George of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA).
According to the indictment, Ogunlana was a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in Brooklyn, Maryland. Ogunlana understood that his duties and responsibilities as a letter carrier included handling, sorting, collecting, and delivering letter and parcel mail to postal customers residing and conducting business on his assigned postal delivery routes, and preserving and protecting the security of all mail in his custody.
The 30-count indictment alleges that Ogunlana conspired with Oguntuyi and others to steal bank checks, credit cards, and debit cards from the mail, open fraudulent business banking accounts using the names of victim businesses and the stolen identities of victim postal customers negotiate the stolen checks by depositing them into the fraudulent bank accounts, and then conduct transactions with stolen payment cards and with money derived from the stolen checks.
As detailed in the indictment, members of the conspiracy would register fraudulent businesses with state government agencies using the names of victim businesses and the names and identifying information of postal customer identity theft victims as the agents and/or incorporators of the businesses. Ogunlana and others allegedly used stolen payment cards issued to identity theft victims to pay fees to register some of the fraudulent businesses. The defendants also allegedly obtained banks checks payable to the victim businesses by intercepting mail sent via USPS, endorsed some of the checks by forging the signatures of identity theft victims, and deposited the checks into the fraudulent business bank accounts the conspirators opened in the names of the victim businesses. The conspirators then withdrew the money from the accounts through cash withdrawals, debit card purchases and cash back transactions at retail merchants, wire transfers, and by writing checks drawn on the accounts.
The indictment alleges that at least $565,000 was stolen from two victim businesses and that at least eight postal customers were victims of identity theft.
If convicted, Ogunlana and Oguntuyi each face a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud and for each of 10 counts of bank fraud. Ogunlana also faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison for access device fraud; a mandatory sentence of two years, consecutive to any other sentence imposed for each of five counts of aggravated identity theft; a maximum of five years in federal prison for each of five counts of theft of mail by a postal employee; and a maximum of five years in federal prison for each of eight counts of destruction of mail by a postal employee. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. The defendants are expected to have initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, although no date has been scheduled..
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and TIGTA for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Maddox, who is prosecuting the case.
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