Not Sure If This Email Was Received

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Based on FBI crime data, Dickinson, North Dakota, is not one of the safest communities in America. The chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Dickinson is 1 in 57. Which is what happened in March of 2019 when Dickinson’s law enforcement announced that a local company had been a victim of a computer intrusion where an “unknown individual obtained access to the company’s principal owners’ Outlook 365 email accounts.” Why would someone want to do that to a company? To steal money, which is what Nigerian born Kolawole Bamidele Akande did, from his home in Dallas, Texas.

In November 2018, Akande used a fraudulent United Kingdom passport containing the fictitious name “Patric Elis Ferguson” to set up residence in Dallas Texas. He then opened a bank account at the Dallas Bank of America branch. These steps  and his computer are all Akande needed to increase the crime rate in Dickinson, North Dakota.

On, March 27, 2019, the controller of a Dickinson company received emails appearing to come from the company’s principal owners. The emails instructed the controller to mail a $192,000 check to an address in Dallas, Texas, payable to “Patel Retail and Logistics.” It all looked legitimate to the controller who acted on instructions and sent, via overnight United Parcel Service (UPS) mail, the $192,000 check to the Dallas, Texas address requested in the email. We know where this story is going! Patel retail and Logistics was owned and operated by Patric Elis Ferguson! Akande received the check and deposited it into his Bank of America account that he opened utilizing the fictitious name of “Patric Elis Ferguson”. Shortly thereafter, Akande transferred the funds to conceal and disguise their nature, location, source, and ownership. In total, the Dickinson company was tricked into issuing checks totaling $348,000.

Fortunately, the controller quickly figured out the error, and Akande was brought to justice. On February 23, 2023, Akande was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

Great job by the United States Postal Service in this investigation.

Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Nigerian man sentenced for mail fraud against ND company” published by Willison Herald on February 23, 2023

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A 30-year-old man from Nigeria was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $348,000 in restitution on Thursday for committing mail fraud against a Dickinson company.

Kolawole Bamidele was arrested on Sept. 5, 2021 in the United Kingdom on the charge of Mail Fraud and was extradited to North Dakota on April 9, 2022. Kolawole pled guilty to the charge on Nov. 8, 2022 and was then sentenced by  U.S. District Court Judge Daniel M. Traynor on Feb. 23, 2023.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.