Reporting Adam Carter
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two men were sentenced Monday in Minneapolis federal court for their involvement in a $50 million bank fraud scandal.
Prosecutors say 44-year-old Julian Okeayaninneh, of California, and 36-year-old Olugbenga Temidago Adeniran, of New York, orchestrated an organized crime group that spanned six states. The organization involved an extensive network of bank employees, and victimized up to 500 people worldwide.
The scandal involved identity theft, bank fraud, credit card fraud, and money laundering. U.S. Attorney for Minnesota B. Todd Jones says the investigation started in Minnesota.
“When we started the case, we had no idea that it would span out and pull in people that were in California, pull in people that were in New York, which again just shows some of the challenges in investigating financial fraud and identity theft, where the platform is the Internet.”
The Minnesota Financial Crimes Task Force headed up a multi-year investigation called “Operation Starburst.” It was a joint operation of federal, local and state law enforcement.
Edina Police Chief Jeff Long said his officers played an integral part in the investigation.
“It started small,” he said. “It was just a typical investigation that led to more and more information by some relentless officers that just continued to follow up.”
Okeayaninneh was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison and Adeniran was sentenced to 22 years. Because the federal criminal justice system does not have parole, the two men will serve most of their sentences behind bars.