Nigerian Held For Cashing Over $100,000 Fake Checks At 10 US Banks Using Fake Passports.A Nigerian man, Opeyemi Abdulahi Orekan, has been arrested and arraigned in the United states for duping no less than ten American banks of over $100,000.
He was reportedly involved in an organized fraud ring that used fake passports from Nigeria and Ghana and fraudulent identities to defraud a number of banks out of tens of thousands of dollars.
He has being charged with bank fraud, passport fraud, identity theft and access device fraud.
According to investigations, the suspect used nine different identities, including a number of passports from Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana, to open bank accounts at a number of bank branches including Bank of America, Webster Bank and Santander to deposit counterfeit checks and then withdraw bank funds.
Opeyemi Abdulahi Orekan
Orekan would then allegedly send the funds to an individual in Nigeria. The transactions occurred at a number of bank branches in Johnston, Lincoln, Pawtucket, Providence and Warwick. Bank America reported nearly $37,000 in losses from at least one of the accounts and another $26,000 from another one of Orekan’s accounts.
Santander reported a near $20,000 loss in connection with Orekan. He also allegedly used fake identities to open accounts at TD Bank, Wells Fargo and Chase Bank.
According to an agent of the Department of Homeland Security who arrested him, “Orekan has been engaged in lengthy pattern of fraud that has been perpetuated across at least 10 different financial institutions.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Vilker told the court that investigators have gathered a number of records and evidence including passports that were found in a ceiling crawl space which, he said, has made their case stronger.
A bag filled with passports was also found in an old, rolled-up carpet found by the property manager of one of the apartments where Orekan resided. That’s when the property manager contacted the FBI.
Investigations show that two Republic of Nigeria passports were altered and two Republic of Ghana passports were counterfeit. Four additional US admission stamps, machine readable visas and two Ghana drivers licenses were also tested and determined to be counterfeit.
Vilker said: “He has a contact in Africa that is sending him these passports.”
Judge Patricia Sullivan, who was in charge of the case refused to grant him bail on the condition that he might flee the country.
The judge said: “The defendant has significant ties to a different country…the affidavit mentions a substantial amount of passports that have passed muster at a number of banks…wiring of tens of thousands to the defendant’s mother in Nigeria.”
“Finally, and very significant, the defendant had contact with law enforcement in November 2016, was released and continued the behavior and then charged in January 2017, released and again continued the behavior.
“Now facing federal charges knitting together what is now unlike instances in November and January, a very substantial charge exposing him to a period of incarceration and risk of deportation.”
Meanwhile, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has declared a Nigerian man identified as Kelechi Declan James, wanted for perpetrating scams worth N2 billion.
According to reports posted on the FBI official website, Kelechi has been scamming people and has so far managed to make $5 million (N2,025,000,000) off unsuspecting victims.
The FBI has since declared him wanted, and even went further to offer a reward in exchange for information on his whereabouts.