A total, 32 people including 22 Nigerians were arrested and charged with being part of a credit card fraud ring that used fake credit cards to steal millions of dollars across the country. 26-year-old Oladayo Araromi, a nurse at the Hudson County jail in Kearny was among those arrested on Wednesday by Secret Service agents and has been suspended without pay, Hudson County spokesman Jim Kennelly said yesterday.
The investigation has identified nearly 1,000 victims across the country and millions of dollars in phony transactions, officials said.
Twenty-one of the suspects appeared in Central Judicial Processing Court yesterday through a videolink with the Kearny jail. Araromi was being held at the Essex County jail in Newark. The remaining people who were charged were arrested out of state.
The leaders of the group purchased the identities of unsuspecting victims from online brokers who got the information from computer hackers, officials said.
In a process known as “punching,” electronic account information from the cards’ magnetic strips would be transferred onto counterfeit cards, which were provided to “strikers” who made purchases at retailers across the Eastern Seaboard, officials said.
Teams of “strikers” purchased retail gift cards that were then used to purchase various electronic items. Those items were then sold in bulk to fences in New York and New Jersey. The fences would then sell the items to other people for cash payments, officials said.
The suspects spent the proceeds on luxury cars, high-end jewelry and other lavish expenses. Some of the money was additionally sent to accounts in Nigeria, authorities said.
Araromi has worked at the jail nearly two years and earns $79,000 annually, Kennelly said.
She is charged with conspiracy in the second degree.
Gregory thanked a slew of law enforcement organizations for helping with the takedown, including the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Hudson County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Marshals Service, and the Stevens Institute of Technology Police Department.
“The operation could not have succeeded without their assistance,” he said.
More arrests are expected as part of the ongoing investigation, officials said.
The defendants charged with money laundering, theft by deception, wrongful impersonation and conspiracy include: Araromi; Bolaji Ola, 30, of Sayreville; Olamide Otti, 27, of Queens; Akintunde Adeyemi, 28, of East Orange; David Brown, 27, of Parlin; Adegbola Adedeji, 31, of Parlin; Oluwaseun Jato, 23, of Hillside; Oluwasola Diji, 31, of Westbury, NY; and Bertrand Ahaneku, 25, of South Orange.
Those charged with theft by deception, wrongful impersonation, and conspiracy include: Oluwaseun Adekoya, 25, of Sewaren; Henry Abdul, 25, of Union; Babatunde Oyefeso, 27, Union; Michael Assih, 24, of East Orange; John Orubo, 32, of Brooklyn; Idris Soyemi, 25, of Brooklyn; Imrahim Akaba, 23, of Piscataway; Vladimir Francois, 27, of Newark; Yves Desir, 29, of Irvington; Aglaide Alzuphar, 23, of Newark; Kossi Klutse, 25, of Newark; Evon Morris, 23, of East Orange; Fontessa Foreman, 27, of Newark; Olutoye Babatunde, 22, of Plainfield; Olukayode Adeosun, 30, of Newark; Gologo Benshaw, 25, of Newark; Olushola Ayeni, 31, of Brooklyn; Orwells Oyakhire, 24, of Maplewood.
Oladayo Araromi, 26, of Elizabeth and Olujimi Williams, 24 of Hillside were charged with conspiracy. Matthew Sabo, 29, of Sayreville and Vijay Shah, 24, of Springfield, are charged with fencing, conspiracy, and receiving stolen property.