Pittsburgh man gets 44 months in federal prison for ‘hijacking’ bank and credit accounts

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A Pittsburgh man was sentenced to 3 years and 8 months in prison for using fraudulently obtained debit and credit cards to purchase $ 250,000 in gift cards, clothing, jewelry and other items, said American lawyer Cindy K. Chung.

Sulemon Arowokoko, 32, a Nigerian who also has ties to Braddock and McKeesport, co-led a sophisticated plot to “hijack” the financial accounts and personal information of victims in western Pennsylvania and elsewhere, has Chung said.

Chung said debit and credit cards are used to purchase gift cards, clothing, cologne, perfume, jewelry, furniture and other items.

Arowokoko pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

A sentencing hearing is underway for Arowokoko co-conspirator Samiat Akinyemi, a Nigerian who pleaded guilty to similar charges in September, court records show.

From 2017 to mid-2019, prosecutors said that Arrowokoko and Akinyemi used stolen personal information such as social security numbers, emails, passwords and other “credentials to trick financial institutions into to issue credit and debit cards to the accounts of victimized customers ”.

The couple were charged last year after Homeland Security officers served a search warrant at Arowokoko’s residence in Pittsburgh, as well as a house where he had previously worked as a home aide.

Arowokoko has used these fraudulently obtained credit and debit cards to make hundreds of purchases of gift cards and other items to be kept or resold for profit overseas, prosecutors said.

“Some of these items were shipped to Nigeria as part of the conspiracy,” Chung’s office said in a statement.

US District Judge J. Nicolas Ranjan sentenced Arowokoko to 44 months earlier this week.

Arowokoko’s attorney, Robert Carey Jr., had asked for less jail time, arguing that Arrowokoko had no criminal record and was not the driver of the scheme.

Natasha Lindstrom is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Natasha at 412-380-8514, [email protected] or via Twitter .



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