A Rhode Island man was charged on four federal crime charges after being arrested earlier this month for allegedly duping a number of banks out of more than $100,000.
Opeyemi Abdulahhi Orekan, a citizen of Nigeria, was taken into custody on April 10 by Department of Homeland Security agents who say he was involved in an organized fraud ring that used fake Nigerian and Ghanan passports and false identities to scam banks out of thousands of dollars.
The federal government is charging him with bank fraud, passport fraud, identify fraud, and access device fraud, originally reported by affiliate NBC10’s Investigative Team.
According to DHS investigators, Orekan used nine different identities to open bank accounts at branches of Bank of America, Webster Bank, and Santander to deposit counterfeit checks and withdraw funds. Money was then sent to an individual in Nigeria. One account had a reported $37,000 in losses.
“Orekan has been engaged in lengthy pattern of fraud that has been perpetuated across at least 10 different financial institutions,” says Keith Holleran, a special agent with Homeland Security Investigations, in an affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Providence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Vilker told the court that investigators have found evidence including passports that were discovered in a ceiling crawl. 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. The property manager reported the discovery to the FBI.
The judge denied Orekan’s request that he be released to his family members with electronic monitoring.