Airline Workers Guilty Of Stealing CreditCards

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BALTIMORE - (09/23/05) -- In a scam airily familiar, aNigerian immigrant who worked as a baggage handler for SouthwestAirlines was sentenced to prison this week for stealing thousandsof credit union and bank credit cards off the airmail atBaltimore-Washington International Airport, then shipping them toNew York where confederates exchanged them for millions of dollarsin cash and merchandise. Kehinde Oladapo, 48, one of five peoplecharged in a scheme that netted $7 million from more than 250victims nationwide, was sentenced to 14 years behind bars. He tookthe mail to his home in Lanham and sent it to three friends inBrooklyn, N.Y., who activated the credit cards and bought things,got cash advances and made ATM withdrawals. The men also set upbank accounts under phony names to cash stolen "convenience checks"- credit card cash promotions offering low interest rates. Thescheme sounds close to one perpetrated by another group of Nigerianimmigrants out of Dulles International Airport, just down the road,in northern Virginia, but authorities told The Credit Union Journalthey don't believe the schemes are related. The Dulles ring stolecredit cards from 54 area credit unions and the large credit cardcompanies, including MasterCard, Visa, American Express andDiscover. Everyone charged in the Baltimore scheme is from Nigeria,though Oladapo is a U.S. citizen. Postal inspectors beganinvestigating last year after losses reported by credit unions andbanks were traced to mail that went through BWI. In May, a federaljury convicted Oladapo's wife, 46-year-old Olushola Oladapo, ofpossession of stolen mail and aiding and abetting the scheme. Shewill be sentenced in October, as will Brooklyn residents OladapoUdukale, 34, and Morsuru Sogbesan, 38. Both pleaded guilty infederal court in New York to conspiracy to commit mail theft andconspiracy to commit bank fraud. The fifth person charged, BabatopeOlawaseun of Brooklyn, is believed to have fled thecountry.

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