Nigerian national guilty in bank fraud scheme Man stole, laundered more than $200,000

November 07, 1997|By Michael James | Michael James,SUN STAFF

A Nigerian national serving seven years in federal prison for attempting to run over a Secret Service agent was convicted yesterday of stealing more than $200,000 in an intricate bank fraud scheme.

Akinola Obayanju, 36, pleaded guilty to money laundering and bank fraud in the scheme, in which he forged checks from legitimate businesses so that he could make large withdrawals for himself. Obayanju is suspected of funneling much of the money to Nigeria, prosecutors said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew C. White said Obayanju made high-quality copies of checks drawn on accounts belonging to an Atlanta law firm and a Greenwich, Conn., communications company. He then filled out the checks and deposited large amounts into bank accounts he opened under a fictitious business name, Pulliam Engineering, White said.

Between Dec. 22, 1995, and Feb. 22, 1996, Obayanju made 29 withdrawals from his Pulliam accounts, usually in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $17,000, prosecutors said.

Internal Revenue Service and Secret Service agents caught on to the scheme last year and set up a sting to catch Obayanju outside a Northeast Baltimore house. When he arrived and rTC picked up a fraudulent credit card planted there as bait, authorities moved in, and Obayanju tried to run one of them down with his car in an attempt to flee, court papers said.

Obayanju, who lived in the 7900 block of Belridge Road in Putty Hill, was sentenced this year to seven years for that attack. He will be sentenced on the bank fraud and money-laundering convictions Dec. 12.

Pub Date: 11/07/97

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