Today, a Pennsylvania man admitted his role in a bank fraud conspiracy that targeted 12 financial institutions in southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.
According to authorities, Tunde Adeowo, 41, of Lansdowne, Pa., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to an information charging him with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Adeowo was part of a multi-defendant, Nigerian-based, multi-layered criminal organization that engaged in a massive bank fraud conspiracy in several states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Rhode Island, between June 2016 and March 2020.
Members of the group acquired numerous business checks that were stolen from the United States mail and altered the payee on the checks to a fraudulent name. They deposited the checks into bank accounts that had been opened with forged foreign passport documents and fraudulent U.S. visas that matched the names on the stolen checks.
Once the banks credited all or a portion of the funds to the accounts, but before the checks had cleared, the defendants withdrew the funds from ATMs or purchased money orders using debit cards associated with the fraudulent accounts.
Members of the organization have used over 400 fraudulent accounts opened with fake identity documents to defraud the victim banks. To date, the total loss to the victim banks is approximately $6 million.
Adeowo admitted his role in the conspiracy, which included using several false identities to open fraudulent bank accounts. He then made numerous deposits of stolen checks to these accounts and withdrew funds from the accounts.
As part of his plea, Adeowo agreed to forfeit his interest in approximately $90,000 worth of money orders which were proceeds of the bank fraud and which were seized from a public storage facility in Philadelphia used by the conspirators to store additional fraudulent identity documents and proceeds of the bank fraud.
Officials say the bank fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a maximum fine of $1 million. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 11, 2022.
According to authorities, two other conspirators have previously pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing before Judge Hillman. Charges against nine other defendants remain pending before the District Court.
The charges and allegations contained in the pending complaints and indictments against the nine conspirators are merely accusations, and the defendants in those cases are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty, say officials.