US jails Nigerian Animasaun for wire fraud, ordered to repay $930,737.60
A Nigerian, Fawaz Olanrewaju Animasaun, 27, will spend the next two years in jail for defrauding East Texans and others out of nearly $1 million. Animasaun, is one of two persons named in a federal indictment for charges of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit bank fraud, as well as aiding and abetting.
He was traveling to the U.S. from Ghana, by way of Amsterdam, when he was arrested at the airport in New York in November last year. Under a plea agreement finalized in May, Animasaun is serving three years in prison on the conspiracy charge.
He is ordered to pay $930,737.60 in restitution to three financial companies. Animasaun and his alleged accomplice Idowu Temitope Omolade, also from Nigeria, are believed to be involved in at least 21 fraudulent wire transfers between April and August of 2012. And that may not be all.
They allegedly impersonated actual account holders in emails exchanged with banking and financial services personnel, harvested details about the target accounts, including account balances, and obtained wire transfer instructions.
With those details, the suspects were then able to initiate a wire transfer without the account holder’s knowledge or authorization. The indictment said that the money was moved through a series of accounts using “money mules,” or people who may or may not have known they were assisting in the transfer.
Financial institutions affected include Wells Fargo, UMB Bank, UMB Financial Corporation, Northern Trust and Northern Trust Corporation.
He could have received up to 30 years in prison for each count of the indictment. The indictment states that Animasaun kept Omolade informed of the progress, and told him when to expect specific wire transfers.
Omolade is not listed as a federal inmate, and there is no record of an arrest. Aliases listed in the indictment include “Michael Chernick” and “CLICKIDONLINE.” Animasaun is listed in the indictment with four aliases, including “Larry Hoover” and “Slim Husstle Olanraywaju.”