Defendant Engaged in Identity Theft, Cyber Fraud, and Elder Fraud, Laundering Money for Overseas Co-Conspirators – Ordered to Serve 34 Years in Prison and Repay Close to $2 Million
SHERMAN, Texas – A Nigerian national based in Plano, Texas has been sentenced to federal prison for violations related to a bank fraud and money laundering conspiracy in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei today.
Babatope Joseph Aderinoye, 30, was convicted by a jury on Oct. 14, 2020, of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering; wire fraud; aggravated identity theft; and mail fraud. Aderinoye was sentenced to 408 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant. Aderinoye was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,919,526.13.
“The types of fraud committed by Mr. Aderinoye and his co-conspirators not only have lasting ramifications for the affected victims, but also threaten the integrity of our country’s financial systems,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “While today’s sentence is a decisive victory for the victims of Mr. Aderinoye and his co-conspirators, the overall fight against cyber fraud continues. EDTX will do everything in its power to bring other cyber criminals to justice, and to recover ill-gotten gains for those victimized.”
“The defendant defrauded senior citizens, a school district, and a non-profit aimed at helping the families of the terminally-ill. The money stolen was needed for critical services, basic everyday necessities, and retirement,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno. “Business Email Compromise is a financially devastating scam that targets both businesses and individuals. The FBI is committed to holding cyber criminals accountable for the harm they do to everyday citizens and our financial institutions.”
According to information presented in court, Aderinoye would obtain fake passports in the names of others. He would then use those fraudulent passports and the identifying information of others to establish false business entities and fraudulent bank accounts. To this date, 13 individual aliases, 12 business aliases, and over 40 fraudulent bank accounts have been tied to Aderinoye, and there is evidence to suggest more aliases exist. Once Aderinoye would open the fraudulent bank accounts, co-conspirators would engage in various business email compromise scams and telephone compromise scams to defraud individuals and businesses out of money. In these scams, co-conspirators would pose as a known individual and direct the targeted victims to wire or send funds to Aderinoye or the fraudulent accounts Aderinoye had set up. Once the ill-gotten money posted in Aderinoye’s fraudulent accounts, he would immediately withdraw the funds, transfer the monies to other fraudulent accounts, or wire them internationally to a bank account he had set up in Nigeria. The illicit proceeds were used to pay off co-conspirators and further fund their fraudulent schemes. From June 2018 through September 2019, over $6.7 million was deposited into alias accounts of Aderinoye, with almost all of those funds being withdrawn or wired internationally. The victims of the BEC scams included school districts such as Community ISD, Project 4031, a non-profit organization that helps families of the terminally ill, an individual whose identity was used to drain his retirement account, and an elderly man who had over $352,000 stolen from his investment account. The investigation is ongoing, as co-conspirators and victims continue to be identified.
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Dallas Financial Crimes Task Force, which includes FBI agents and members of the Fort Worth Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Wes Wynne and Will Tatum.