Allegedly Used Fraudulent Passports and Stolen Identities to Open Bank Accounts; Co-conspirators Sent E-Mails to Victim Businesses Falsely Purporting to be Vendors to Which the Victim Businesses Owed Money in Order to Obtain Fraudulent Payments
Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has indicted three foreign nationals residing in Baltimore County for a bank fraud scheme in which the defendants and their co-conspirators obtained or attempted to obtain more than $3.5 million. The defendants, Damilola Lawal, a/k/a DML, D Baba, and Dami, age 31, of Windsor Mill, Maryland, Idowu Ademola Raji, a/k/a ID, King Soso, and James, age 39, of Pikesville, Maryland; and Akolade Ojo, a/k/a Kola and Boogz, age 30, of Owings Mills, Maryland are charged with a federal wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, passport fraud, and aggravated identity theft. The indictment was returned on October 26, 2020, and was unsealed at their initial appearances late on November 4, 2020.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge John Eisert of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; and Special Agent in Charge Edwin Guard of the Washington Field Office of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service.
According to the 12-count indictment, from August 2018 and continuing until October 26, 2020, the defendants conspired with Adewumi Abioye, Hameed Adesokan, Lukman Salam, and another person to defraud victim businesses and victim financial institutions. Specifically, the indictment alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators used false, forged, and counterfeited passports and other identification documents that contained the facial images of co-conspirators but not their real names. They used the forged documents to create limited liability companies, and to open fraudulent bank accounts, often where the only authorized signatory was an alias or stolen identity used by the defendants and their co-conspirators. The defendants and their co-conspirators used a messaging app to communicate the timing of financial transactions, including directing members of the conspiracy regarding the deposit, withdrawal, transfer, and conversion of fraudulently obtained funds.