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Toronto man jailed in massive U.S. credit card scam

TheStar.com - 12-01-23 Click here for original article       Back to Articles

A Toronto man was sentenced to nearly 18 years in prison in a North Dakota court on Monday, accused of masterminding what authorities have called one of the largest credit card fraud schemes in U.S. history.

Authorities believe Adekunle Adetiloye, 30, organized a scheme to open nearly 600 fraudulent bank accounts and bilk 22 major banks, potentially costing those banks and credit card firms up to $5 million.

"Characterizing this fraud scheme as massive, if anything, is an understatement," U.S. federal prosecutor Nick Chase said in court documents. During the sentencing hearing, Chase said Adetiloye had an "insatiable hunger for other people's money."

Adekunle Adetiloye
Adekunle Adetiloye, a former Toronto resident, was sentenced by a judge in North Dakota Monday to almost 18 years in prison for his role in what authorities call one of the largest credit card fraud schemes in U.S. history.

Adetiloye was arrested in Dec. 2007 in Toronto and has been in custody in the U.S. since March 2010, documents showed. It is unknown how long the native of Nigeria lived in Toronto, but he is reported to be a Canadian citizen and to have had several addresses in the city.

Investigators said Adetiloye incorporated two different companies that claimed to be debt collection companies and gained access to commercial data providers.

With access to those providers, Adetiloye and others obtained the personal identification information of about 38,000 people, most of whom were medical professionals. They used that information to open credit card, debit and checking accounts, prosecutors said.

The defence argued that Adetiloye, the only person charged, was a marginal participant in the scheme whose role was to handle mail and withdraw money from ATMs. But Judge Ralph Erickson said in court documents the evidence ?indisputably demonstrates? that Adetiloye was a leader or organizer of the scheme.

Adetiloye has 14 days to decide whether to appeal the sentence, said Neil Fulton, the federal public defender for North and South Dakota.

"We?re going over what the sentence means for Mr. Adetiloye and any options he may have for appeal if he wants to pursue them," Fulton said. "The sentence reflects that it was viewed as a serious offence by the government and by the judge."

The case wound up in North Dakota after U.S. Bank's customer service centre in Fargo intercepted calls by Adetiloye and others. The scheme took five years to investigate and litigate: sentencing alone took nearly a year. Greg Krier, lead credit card fraud investigator for U.S. Bank, testified that it was the most complex case he had ever seen.

With files from the Associated Press

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