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California Man Gets 27 Years in Prison in $50 Million Fraud

A California man was sentenced to 27 years in prison for his role in a $50 million bank fraud that operated in six states and involved 500 victims worldwide, federal prosecutors in Minnesota said.

U.S. District Judge Michael J. Davis in Minneapolis today sentenced Julian Okeayainneh, 44, of Colton, California. Earlier today, another man, Olugbenga Temidago Adeniran, 36, of New York, was sentenced to more than 22 years behind bars, Minnesota U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones said in a statement.

“Crooked bank insiders bartered the personal financial information of their patrons,” Jones said.

U.S. juries convicted the men in February of participating in a ring that bought and sold stolen bank customer data, which they used to open bank and credit card accounts and apply for loans between 2006 and 2011, according to court papers.

Among the victims of the scheme were JP Morgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co. and American Express Co., Jones said.

Adeniran was convicted of identity theft, bank fraud and conspiracy. Okeayainneh was found guilty of those and other counts including mail fraud and money laundering. The trial lasted three weeks.

Appeals Likely

Okeayainneh’s lawyer, Jean Brandl of St. Paul, Minnesota-based Heltzer & Houghtaling PA, said in a phone interview today that her client disputed some court rulings and would probably appeal.

“A very stiff sentence, I thought,” said lawyer Daniel Mohs, who represented Adeniran at trial.

He said his client would appeal and argue that the government hadn’t proved a single unifying conspiracy.

Nine other people were charged in the case. Six pleaded guilty and three remain fugitives, prosecutors said. The plot in operated in California, New York, Texas, Minnesota, Massachusetts and Arizona.

The case is U.S. v. Okeayainneh, 11-cr-87, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota (Minneapolis).

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