Opeyemi Abdulahi Orekan, who allegedly duped a number of banks out of more than $100,000, from his home in Rhode Island, faced a federal judge on Friday after being arrested on April 10 and charged on four, federal criminal charges.
Agents from the Dept. of Homeland Security said Orekan was involved in an organized fraud ring that used fake passports from Nigeria and Ghana and fraudulent identities to defraud a number of banks out of tens of thousands of dollars.
The FG is charging him with bank fraud, passport fraud, identity theft and access device fraud. Orekan used 9 different identities, including a number of passports from Nigeria, South Africa and Ghana, to open bank accounts at a number of bank branches including Bank of America, Webster Bank and Santander to deposit counterfeit checks and then withdraw bank funds.
Orekan would then allegedly send the funds to an individual in Nigeria. “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 the Dept. of Homeland Security.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Lee Vilker told the court that investigators have gathered a number of records and evidence including passports that were found in a ceiling crawl space which, he said, has made their case stronger.
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. That's when the property manager contacted the FBI.
Forensic tests of the passports determined that two Republic of Nigeria passports were altered and two Republic of Ghana passports were counterfeit. 4 additional US admission stamps, machine readable visas adn two Ghana drivers licenses were also tested and determined to be counterfeit.