A Nigerian man, Babatope Joseph Aderinoye, 30, was sentenced to 34 years in federal prison in the U.S.for violations related to a bank fraud and money laundering conspiracy.
Aderinoye, aka Eja Nla, lived a glamorous life – travelling to exotic locations, snapping photos with VIPs – and flaunted them all on social media.
However, behind his glamorous life, he was defrauding US citizens and organisations of millions of dollars.
Operating out of Plano, in Texas, Aderinoye carried out schemes, which targeted senior citizens, school districts and charities.
According to FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew DeSarno: “The defendant defrauded senior citizens, a school district, and a non-profit aimed at helping the families of the terminally-ill. The money stolen was needed for critical services, basic everyday necessities, and retirement.
“Business Email Compromise is a financially devastating scam that targets both businesses and individuals. The FBI is committed to holding cyber criminals accountable for the harm they do to everyday citizens and our financial institutions.”
CBS DFW reports that according to information presented in court, Aderinoye would obtain fake passports in the names of others. He would then use those fraudulent passports and the identifying information of others to establish false business entities and fraudulent bank accounts.
To this date, 13 individual aliases, 12 business aliases, and over 40 fraudulent bank accounts have been tied to Aderinoye, and there is evidence to suggest more aliases exist.
Once Aderinoye opens the fraudulent bank accounts, co-conspirators would engage in various business email compromise scams and telephone compromise scams to defraud individuals and businesses out of money.
In these scams, co-conspirators would pose as a known individual and direct the targeted victims to wire or send funds to Aderinoye or the fraudulent accounts Aderinoye had set up. Once the ill-gotten money is posted in Aderinoye’s fraudulent accounts, he would immediately withdraw the funds, transfer the monies to other fraudulent accounts, or wire them internationally to a bank account he had set up in Nigeria.
The illicit proceeds were used to pay off co-conspirators and further fund their fraudulent schemes.
From June 2018 through September 2019, over $6.7 million was deposited into alias accounts of Aderinoye, with almost all of those funds being withdrawn or wired internationally.
Babatope Aderinoye was convicted by a jury on Oct. 14, 2020, of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering; wire fraud; aggravated identity theft; and mail fraud.
He was sentenced to 34 years in federal prison by U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,919,526.13.
Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei said: “The types of fraud committed by Mr. Aderinoye and his co-conspirators not only have lasting ramifications for the affected victims, but also threaten the integrity of our country’s financial systems.
“While today’s sentence is a decisive victory for the victims of Mr. Aderinoye and his co-conspirators, the overall fight against cyber fraud continues. EDTX will do everything in its power to bring other cyber criminals to justice, and to recover ill-gotten gains for those victimized.”