Feds Say ID Thieves Sent Cars to Africa
SAN DIEGO (CN) - Three fugitives used stolen identities to buy dozens of cars and ship them to Ghana before the victims became aware of the frauds, federal prosecutors say in an indictment.
Prosecutors unsealed the indictment Friday. It charges Henry Addo, Edmund Seshie, and Abdul Rezak Shaib conspiracy, mail and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. All three are fugitives.
Addo is accused of running the fraud from Internet cafés in Ghana. The other two men are accused of "do(ing) his bidding in the United States."
Prosecutors say them men bought stolen credit cards, with corresponding counterfeit driver's licenses, from a website based in Singapore. The website gets its stolen identities "from phishing sites or from large data breaches at retail stores," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.
Prosecutors say the men used the stolen goods to buy cars from car dealers - mostly Toyota Camrys and Corollas, but also Mercedes Benz sedans.
They are accused of buying at least 43 cars, worth more than $500,000.
In a bizarre sidelight, prosecutors said in the statement: "All three defendants are alleged to have been involved with 'Sakawa,' which is a Ghanaian practice that combines modern internet-based fraud practices targeting foreigners with traditional African religious rituals. The indictment describes how defendant Addo motivated his United States-based co-conspirators to participate in the conspiracy by invoking Sakawa."
Addo, 34, lives in Accra, Ghana; Seshie aka Eddie Blay, 42, in Columbus, Ohio; Shaik, 28, in the Bronx, N.Y.
If they are caught, and convicted, they face up to 20 years for mail fraud, 20 years for wire fraud, 20 years for conspiracy, and 2 years for aggravated identity theft.