SHREVEPORT, La. – United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced that Chukwuma N. Okoye, Jr., 38, of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter to 46 months in prison, followed by 3 years of probation, for illegally obtaining money using debit cards prepaid. Okoye was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $2,379,860. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to use unauthorized access devices on November 9, 2021.
According to evidence presented in court during the guilty plea hearing, Okoye and his co-defendants used unauthorized access devices, specifically prepaid Green Dot debit cards that were registered in other people’s names to buy money orders and make cash withdrawals. Between July and September 2020, Okoye and others traveled from Texas to Bossier City, Louisiana, where Green Dot cards were redeemed at a Walmart store on Airline Drive in Bossier City.
The funds on the Green Dot cards came from fraudulent Washington State Unemployment Insurance and Small Business Administration (SBA) loans obtained by unknown individuals. Once these funds were deposited into PayPal accounts, strangers transferred funds to the Green Dot cards and the cards were then used at online retailers and various brick-and-mortar retail stores. All PayPal accounts and Green Dot cards involved in the scheme had been opened by strangers, using stolen personal identifying information.
The investigation uncovered 29 PayPal accounts that were used to fund Green Dot cards used at Bossier City Walmart during the conspiracy. These 29 accounts contained a total of $729,300 in illicit funds that were seized.
Okoye’s co-defendants, Patrick N. Madubuko and Barnabas Akporehe, are fugitives. If you have any whereabouts information, please contact your local US Secret Service office or go to www.usmarshals.gov/tips.
The case was investigated by the United States Secret Service and the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian C. Flanagan.
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