Man caught stealing identities of almost 1,000 people
Oronsaye was indicted on 58 counts, including wire fraud, false claims, aggravated identity theft, and credit card fraud. He was booked into federal prison in Tucson.
SIERRA VISTA (KGUN9-TV) - A man was arrested in Sierra Vista on nearly 60 counts of wire fraud, credit card fraud and other charges related to aggravated identity theft.
In February, Cochise College officials discovered a flash drive that was left in a school computer, according to Cpl. Scott Borgstadt with the Sierra Vista Police Department.
Borgstadt tells KGUN9 that college employees became suspicious when they tried to identify who the flash drive belonged to and discovered 800-900 names and personal information on the flash drive.
Sierra Vista police were called to the scene and began an investigation.
Detective Colin Festa, of the Sierra Vista Police Department's Property Crimes Unit, obtained a search warrant for the flash drive and uncovered numerous files with stolen identities and financial information.
Much of the information on the drive was from people in other states so Festa reached out to the Internal Revenue Service and Secret Service.
The inestigation ultimately revealed that 34-year-old Osabuohien Odyssey Oronsaye, of Nigeria, had purchased the names and information online, and was using the information to prepare tax returns, according to Borgstadt. Oronsaye then had the tax refund money placed on prepaid debit cards.
Festa stated most of the names were purchased for $1.50 a name and had been illegally obtained by internet phishing scams.
These scams are typically sent via email to look like a credit card company or a bank trying to verify account information. Account holders who then answer the email thinking it is legitimate unknowingly provide criminals with personal information, according to Festa.
Oronsaye was arrested in Tempe on Friday, Dec. 7 and indicted on 58 counts, including wire fraud, false claims, aggravated identity theft and credit card fraud. Oronsaye was booked into federal prison in Tucson.
According to Brian Watson with the IRS, a conviction for false claims upon the United States carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both. A claim for aggravated identity theft carries a two year penalty that must run consecutive to any sentence received for wire fraud, a $250,000 fine, or both. A conviction for access device fraud carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.
An indictment is simply a method by which a person is charged with criminal activity. An individual is presumed innocent until a jury establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Festa urges anyone who receives a call or email asking for personal information to contact their bank or credit card company to make sure it is legitimate.