Five defendants – including one from Duluth – were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Atlanta for using fake driver’s licenses to withdraw almost $1.5 million from victims’ bank accounts. The defendants were convicted of conspiracy, bank fraud, and aggravated identity theft after pleading guilty.
U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Thrash Jr. handed down the following sentences:
- Christian Okafor, 36, of Duluth was sentenced to 3 years, 10 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $97,030.99 in restitution.
- Gafar O. Kosoko Balogun, 30, of Atlanta was sentenced to 6 years, 6 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $1,485,660.68 in restitution.
- Donish Adkins, 35, of Johns Creek was sentenced to 5 years, 3 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $527,293.31 in restitution.
- Orlon Hall, 32, of Alpharetta was sentenced to 5 years, 10 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $698,943.31 in restitution.
- Wayne Cunningham, 53, of College Park was sentenced to 7 years, 3 months in prison, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $46,860 in restitution.
Court documents and U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates revealed that from February 2010 through August 2011, Balogun ran an identity theft scheme in Atlanta that targeted various banks, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, SunTrust, and BB&T. He obtained individuals' financial account information, credit reports, business information and tax identification numbers.
Balogun would then call the bank and impersonate the true account holder to find out the account balance of the victim.
Adkins, Hall, Okafor, and Cunningham were given the information, and they recruited “runners” to go into the banks and withdraw money from the victims’ accounts. Balogun supplied fake driver’s licenses to the runners, which they used to impersonate the account holders while in the banks. In addition to recruiting co-conspirators, Cunningham also entered banks and made withdrawals from victims’ accounts.
After paying the runners about $500 per transaction, the defendants shared the remainder of the criminal proceeds. The investigation has linked more than $2.7 million in actual and attempted withdrawals from more than 60 accounts to the scheme. The defendants succeeded in getting more than $1.4 million from these accounts.
Judge Thrash sentenced Balogun, Adkins, Hall and Cunningham on Jan. 31, and sentenced Okafor Feb. 4.