Seventeen Years for Giant Identity Fraud

DALLAS (CN) - A Dallas man who ate a debt card to hide his role in a multimillion-dollar identity and tax fraud scheme was sentenced to 17 years in federal prison.
     Ogiesoba City Osula, 38, also was ordered to pay $15.9 million in restitution.
     He was convicted in October 2013 of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and bank fraud; seven counts of presenting fraudulent claims on the United States; two counts of access device fraud and aiding and abetting; and six counts of aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting.
     Prosecutors said Osula and his co-conspirators used stolen identities to electronically file phony tax return to claim millions of dollars tax refunds. The refunds were credited to stored value cards or bank accounts opened with the stolen identities.
     "The number of stolen identities and fraudulent tax refund monies in this case are staggering," said Diego Rodriguez, special agent in charge of FBI Dallas.
     During the weeklong trial, prosecutors said Osula and his co-conspirators traded information with a similar group of schemers in Cincinnati. Osula was questioned in November 2011 by police in a Cincinnati suburb.
     "A drug detection dog alerted on the vehicle, and when it was searched, police found more than $300,000 in cash and money orders and numerous debit cards," prosecutors said in a statement.
     "During that incident, while Osula was in a police car and waiting to be questioned, he ate a debit card."
     Two of Osula's co-conspirators were sentenced in April.
     George Ojonugwa, 32, of Garland, was sentenced to 174 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $15.9 million in restitution.
     Eseos Igiebor, 43, of Richardson, was sentenced to 96 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $9.6 million in restitution.
     Two other co-conspirators were sentenced in 2013.
     Ebenezer Legbedion, 42, of Lagos, Nigeria, was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $1 million in restitution.
     Evelyn Nyaboke Haley, 34, of Dallas, was sentenced to 60 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $5.7 million in restitution.