Hyattsville Man, Oyekanmi Oworu Sentenced to Three Years in Federal Prison for Bank Fraud Conspiracy That Intended to Cause a Loss of More Than $4.1 Million
Defendant Participated in a Bank Fraud Conspiracy that Compromised the Identity of More Than 50 Victims
Baltimore, MD (STL.News) U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Oyekanmi Oworu, age 35, of Hyattsville, Maryland to three years in federal prison, followed by four years of supervised release, for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Special Agent in Charge Rodney A. Davis of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
According to his guilty plea, between February 2017 and July 2020, Oworu conspired with co-defendant Babtunde Ajibawo, age 55, of Essex, United Kingdom and others to fraudulently obtain checks made out to legitimate businesses, then fraudulently register shell companies to obtain state business certificates in the identical or similar name of the legitimate businesses to which the checks were made payable. The conspiracy also used the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Modernized Internet Employer Identification Number (EIN) online portal and the fraudulently obtained social security numbers of real individuals to obtain an EINs for the fraudulent business.
Specifically, on February 7, 2017, Oworu opened a bank account at a victim financial institution in the name of a real individual and deposited a stolen check made payable to a legitimate business for $265,168.20. Oworu subsequently withdrew the proceeds.
Additionally, on November 20, 2018, Oworu opened a bank account at a victim financial institution in a similar name of a legitimate business using the means and identification of A.S., a real individual. After opening the account, Oworu deposited a stolen check made payable to the legitimate business for $58,713.50.
Further, as detailed in the Superseding Indictment, Oworu and his co-conspirators attempted to conceal their criminal actions and evade law enforcement by relocating the fraud scheme to other jurisdictions. A substantial part of a fraudulent scheme was committed from outside the United States, specifically Nigeria.
In total, Oworu and his co-conspirators intended to cause a loss of at least $4.1 million to victim businesses, caused an actual loss of at least $756,175.30, and compromised the identifying information of more than 50 individual victims.
Co-defendant Ajibawo pled guilty to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and was sentenced to four years of federal prison on December 8, 2021.
United States Attorney Erek L. Barron commended the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration for their work in the investigation. Mr. Barron thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mary W. Setzer and Judson T. Mihok, who prosecuted the case.