Former bank IT man pleads guilty to $1m ID theft scam

Former bank IT man pleads guilty to $1m ID theft scam

A computer technician has pleaded guilty to stealing the personal information of 2000 former colleagues at the Bank of New York Mellon and using it to pilfer over $1.1 million from charities, non-profit groups and other institutions.

Adeniyi Adeyemi was employed as a computer technician contractor at the headquarters of the Bank of New York in 2001. During that time he stole the personal identifying information of 2000 employees, mainly in the IT department where he was based.

Over the next few years, he used this information to open more than 30 bank and brokerage accounts in their identities with firms including E*Trade, Fidelity, Citi, Wachovia, and Washington Mutual.

These accounts served as dummies for the purpose of receiving stolen funds. Adeyemi stole money from the bank accounts of charities and non-profit organisations and funnelled it into the dummy accounts, later withdrawing the stolen funds or transferring them to a second layer of dummies.

He was assisted in the theft because, in the interests of facilitating donations, many charities put their banking details on the Internet, making them easy prey for unauthorised withdrawals by identity thieves, particularly those with computer expertise such as Adeyemi.

In addition, Adeyemi has admitted stealing from Bank of New York employees themselves by changing the contact information associated with their online banking profiles, taking control of their accounts and wiring money to dummies.

Wiring just under $10,000 at a time to avoid hitting the threshold at which all financial institutions must report transactions to the US Treasury, he stole more than $128,000 from staff.

The New York/New Jersey Electronic Crimes Task Force of the United States Secret Service began surveillance on Adeyemi after tracing suspicious Internet activity at his apartment.

A search of the apartment last April uncovered dozens of Bank of New York employees' credit reports on his computer, along with many other documents containing personal identifying information of more than 2000 staff.

The investigative team also found notebooks containing hundreds of names, social security numbers, account numbers, and other personal data, along with numerous credit cards in Bank of New York employees' names in a storage locker Adeyemi rented.

He has now pleaded guilty to the top charges in the indictment, grand larceny in the first degree and money laundering in the first degree, as well as to the felony charge of computer tampering in the first degree. He is scheduled to be sentenced on 21 July 21.

He also signed a confession of judgement and forfeiture stipulation acknowledging an outstanding debt of $393,423 to E*Trade and Chase Bank, and forfeiting $29,285 in cash seized from his apartment along with an E*Trade account in his name worth approximately $46,000.

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