NJ men charged with bank fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft

NEWARK, NJ — Two North Jersey men were charged Dec. 11 for their respective roles in an alleged conspiracy that used stolen credit cards removed from the mail by U.S. Postal Service employees to defraud banks that issued the cards, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Olagoke Araromi, 22, of Union, and Elhadj Fofana, of Orange, are charged by complaint with one count each of bank fraud conspiracy and aggravated identity theft. Araromi is additionally charged with one count of giving bribes to USPS employees. Araromi was arrested Dec. 11 and had his initial appearance the same day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre in Newark federal court. Fofana remains at large.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court, from July 2017 to May 2018, Araromi and others conspired to steal credit cards that banks mailed to account holders by bribing USPS employees to remove envelopes containing credit cards from the mail. Araromi and others paid USPS employees cash for credit cards that the USPS employees had removed from the mail. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, text messages between Araromi and USPS employees showed Araromi instructing USPS employees to look for and take credit cards issued by certain banks that he preferred, promising to pay the USPS employees for taking as many credit cards as possible, and arranging meetings to pick up the stolen credit cards.

From July 2017 to February 2018, Araromi, Fofana and others then reportedly used the stolen credit cards to make unauthorized purchases of retail goods, such as Apple MacBook Pro devices and other Apple products, throughout New Jersey and New York, causing financial losses to the banks that issued the credit cards. According to court documents, surveillance video recordings and photos from these various retail stores showed the defendants making these unauthorized transactions with the stolen credit cards.

One of Araromi’s and Fofana’s conspirators, Moussa Dagno, was previously charged by complaint and is currently detained.

The bank fraud conspiracy charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory sentence of two years in prison, which must run consecutive to any other term imposed. The bribery charge is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until found guilty in a court of law.

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