• Tony Igele

Nigerian Jailed Two Years in US for Defrauding Six Financial Institutions

Fawaz Olanrewaju Animasaun will spend the next two years in jail in the United States for defrauding three financial institutions of nearly $1 million.

He is one of two persons named in a federal indictment for charges of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, as well as aiding and abetting.

The 27-year-old was arrested in November 2016 at the airport in New York while traveling to the US from Ghana by way of Amsterdam.

He was later detained at the Gregg county jail pending his trial. After a plea agreement, which was finalised in May, he was ordered to pay $930,737.60 in restitution to three financial companies.

Animasaun will pay $135,989 to East Texas-based Austin Bank, $46,800 to Northern Trust company and $747,948.60 to UMB financial corporation.

Other financial institutions affected include Wells Fargo, UMB bank, Northern Trust Corporation.

Idowu Temitope Omolade, his alleged accomplice, is believed to have been involved in at least 21 fraudulent wire transfers between April and August 2012.

A footnote made by a US attorney in the 21-page federal indictment reads, “Because the purpose of this complaint is to set forth only those facts necessary to establish probable cause to arrest, I have not described all the relevant facts and circumstances of which I am aware”.

The indictment said the purpose of the conspiracy was to “unlawfully obtain money through unauthorized transfers of funds from bank accounts and brokerage accounts”.

The accused allegedly impersonated actual account holders in emails exchanged with personnel of the financial institutions. According to the indictment, they harvested details about the target accounts, including account balance, obtained wire transfer instructions.

With the details, they initiated a wire transfer without the account holder’s knowledge or authorization transferring the money through a series of accounts using money mules, people who may or may not know that they were assisting in money transfer.

Animasaun was transferred out of the Gregg county jail on June 28, in the custody of the US marshals.

Federal bureau of prisons records show he is now in a detention center in Brooklyn, New York and will remain there until June 2019. He could get up to 30 years in prison for each count of the indictment.

According to the indictment, Animasaun kept Omolade informed of the progress and told him when to expect specific wire transfers.

Omolade is not listed as a federal inmate, and there is no record of an arrest. Aliases listed in the indictment include ‘Michael Chernick’ and ‘CLICKIDONLINE’.

Animasaun is listed in the indictment with four aliases, including ‘Larry Hoover’ and ‘Slim Husstle Olanraywaju’.

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