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Maryland man pleads guilty to bank fraud conspiracy

BALTIMORE — A Maryland man has pleaded guilty to his role in a bid to victimize businesses and cause losses totaling more than $4 million through a stolen check scheme.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland says in a news release that Oyekanmi Oworu, 35, of Hyattsville pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to commit bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

According to his guilty plea, between February 2017 and July 2020, Oworu conspired with his co-defendant and others to get checks made out to legitimate businesses, then fraudulently register shell companies to obtain state business certificates in the identical or similar name of the legitimate businesses to which the checks were written.

In Feb. 2017, Oworu opened an account at a bank in the name of a real individual and deposited a stolen check made payable to a legitimate business for more than $265,000, a news release said. Oworu subsequently withdrew the money.

A superseding indictment said Oworu and his co-conspirators tried to hide their actions by moving the fraud scheme outside the U.S., specifically to Nigeria.

Oworu faces up to 30 years in prison when he is sentenced in March 2022. He is also required to pay restitution.

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