UPDATE: Johnson B. Ogunlana’s co-conspirator has been sentenced to over four year in prison.
Original story below…
BALTIMORE, MD—A Maryland mail carrier has been sentenced to six years in prison after committing identity theft and stealing over $565,000 in checks.
U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Johnson B. Ogunlana, 25, of Middle River, to six years in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release for conspiracy to commit bank fraud and mail fraud, access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and theft of mail by a postal employee. As part of his sentencing, Ogunlana has been ordered to pay $232,588 in restitution.
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Special Agent in Charge Imari R. Niles of the U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General; and Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel A. Adame of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Washington Division.
According to his plea agreement, Ogunlana was a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in Brooklyn, Maryland. Ogunlana knew that his duties and responsibilities as a letter carrier included handling, sorting, collecting, and delivering letter and parcel mail to postal customers residing and conducting business on his assigned postal delivery routes, and preserving and protecting the security of all mail in his custody.
Between July 25, 2016 and February 5, 2019, Ogunlana, and his co-conspirator Samson A. Oguntuyi, 29, of Atlanta, Georgia conspired with others to steal bank checks and credit and debit cards from the mail, open fraudulent business banking accounts using the names of victim businesses and the stolen identities of victim postal customers to negotiate the stolen checks by depositing them into the fraudulent bank accounts, and then conduct transactions with stolen payment cards and with money derived from the stolen checks.
As detailed in the plea agreement, Ogunlana intercepted and stole mail pieces containing credit cards addressed to individual victims and sent photos of the stolen mail pieces and credit cards through a messaging application to Oguntuyi and other conspirators. Oguntuyi then used the victims’ personal identifying information to activate the stolen credit cards and to obtain new credit cards the victims never requested or applied for. Once the stolen credit cards were activated, members of the conspiracy used the credit cards to make retail purchases.
Members of the conspiracy also registered fraudulent businesses with state government agencies in similar names as the victim businesses. Conspiracy members also used the fraudulent businesses to cash stolen checks. Conspiracy members also used the names and identifying information of postal customer identity theft victims as the agents and/or incorporators of the fraudulent businesses and used stolen payment cards issued to identity theft victims to pay fees to register some of the fraudulent businesses. Ogunlana stole checks payable to victim businesses, whose mail was serviced out of the USPS facility where Ogunlana worked, by intercepting their mail. Oguntuyi and Ogunlana then endorsed some of the checks by forging the signatures of identity theft victims and depositing the checks into the fraudulent business bank accounts the conspirators opened in the names of the victim businesses. The conspirators then withdrew the money from the accounts through cash withdrawals, debit card purchases and cash back transactions at retail merchants, wire transfers, and by writing checks drawn on the accounts.
As detailed in his plea agreement, at least $565,000 in checks was stolen from two victim businesses and at least eight postal customers were victims of identity theft.