Bloomington woman sentenced to 5.5 years to federal prison for identity theft
INDIANAPOLIS- Oluwatobi Seton, 28, of Bloomington, Indiana, has been sentenced to nearly 5.5 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.
According to court documents, Seton conspired with partners in Nigeria to obtain unemployment and other benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic from state and federal governments by falsely applying for such benefits using the stolen identities of others.
Seton and her co-conspirators obtained personal identifiable information of their victims, which they used to open GoBank accounts and obtain debit cards. The conspirators then submitted false and fraudulent employment applications to unemployment agencies throughout the United States in the victims’ names and had the stolen benefits monies deposited into their fraudulent GoBank accounts and onto debit cards. Seton then used fake driver’s licenses in the victims’ names to access the proceeds of the fraud scheme. At the time of her arrest, Seton had over 1,400 GoBank cards and ten driver’s licenses with different names in her possession.
In total, the conspiracy resulted in at least $5,475,459.00 in actual and attempted losses to state unemployment offices and other state and federal agencies: Seton kept a portion of the proceeds for herself and sent the remainder to her conspirators, including her business partners in Nigeria. Investigators seized over $550,000 in cash and GoBank accounts linked to the scheme during the investigation.
“This international criminal enterprise conspired to steal millions of dollars meant to help our citizens as we fought through the unprecedented pandemic,” said United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Zachary A. Myers. “Fraudsters like this defendant who sought to exploit the urgent need to provide pandemic relief must be held accountable. I commend the work of our partners at the FBI, Bloomington Police Department, and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, along with our federal prosecutors, to identify criminals like this defendant and ensure that they pay the price for their crimes.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Bloomington Police Department, and Monroe County Sheriff’s Office investigated this case. The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge, Tanya Walton Pratt. Judge Pratt also ordered that Seton be supervised by the U.S. Probation Office for 1 year following her release from federal prison and pay restitution in the amount of $4,309,027.00.
U.S. Attorney Myers thanked Assistant United States Attorney MaryAnn T. Mindrum, who prosecuted this case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID‑19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID‑19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form
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