Nigerian national sentenced to 102 months for role in airline ticket scam

Ademola Ismaila Adegoke, 43, of Accra, Ghana, was sentenced this week to 102 months in prison for using stolen credit card numbers to steal more than $400,000 from U.S. citizens. U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady also ordered Adegoke to serve two years of supervised release following his prison term. The defendant has agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $696,026. Adegoke pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft on July 30, 2010.

According to court documents, Adegoke, a Nigerian national who was living in Accra, used local Internet cafes in Accra to access e-mail accounts and Voice over IP (VOIP) services, which made it appear that he was calling from the United States even though he was physically in Ghana. He used e-mail and VOIP to purchase stolen credit card information online and then used those numbers to purchase airline tickets from travel agencies in the United States and Canada, as well as directly from airlines.

Adegoke sent e-mail or faxed copies of fraudulent passports and drivers licenses as well as images of credit cards with the stolen credit card number transposed over a blank card to the travel agency or airline. According to court documents, if he was able to convince the travel agency or airline to issue a ticket, he would call back, speak to the same agent, and purchase additional tickets for customers who would pay him a fraction of the cost of the full fare. In all, Adegoke purchased more than 5,000 stolen credit card numbers and was responsible for more than $400,000 in losses as a result of this scheme.

On May 5, 2010, the Ghanaian Police, in cooperation with U.S. law enforcement, arrested Adegoke in Accra. Adegoke was extradited from Ghana to the United States, where he arrived on June 28, 2010.

This case was investigated by the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, the U.S. Secret Service and the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority. Michael Stawasz, Senior Counsel in the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney John Eisinger prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter.

Source: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia

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