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Sunday, Jan 29, 2023

Indictment Issued in Massive Identity Theft Case

A 42-year-old North Hollywood man has been indicted on 15 additional counts of criminal activity associated with one of the largest identity theft cases filed in Los Angeles County.

Olatunji Oluwatosin, who pleaded guilty in February to one count of identity theft, is alleged to have accessed credit reports, Social Security numbers and other personal information of thousands of customers of Alpharetta, Ga.-based ChoicePoint, which collects consumer data and public records.

The charges were brought as part of a wide-ranging investigation into the theft of as many as 145,000 ChoicePoint records.

County prosecutors allege that an unknown conspirator set up mail drops in Beverly Hills and parts of the San Fernando Valley and opened bogus businesses with ChoicePoint to receive customer account information. The personal information of more than 1,500 people was used to obtain credit card accounts, a scheme that cost ChoicePoint $2 million and several major banks another $2 million in losses.

In the recent indictment, which replaces an earlier indictment brought last year against Oluwatosin, a county grand jury alleged that the local man paid on some ChoicePoint accounts, had postal office box keys for one account and owned phones used to contact ChoicePoint accounts. He was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit computer access fraud, five counts of grand theft, 14 counts of identity theft and two counts of credit card access fraud.

Oluwatosin, who was sentenced earlier this year to 16 months in state prison, faces another 22 years if convicted on the additional counts.

Oluwatosin is the second of two local cases involving the theft of ChoicePoint records. In March, an Encino man was sentenced by a federal grand jury to 66 months in prison for stealing the identities of thousands of customers by obtaining their credit numbers. Adedayo Benson, who pleaded guilty in November, must pay $155,000 in restitution to 10 financial institutions.

Benson and his sister, Babiana Benson, also stole identities from Advantage Financial and Equifax, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Babiana Benson pleaded guilty in September 2002 to charges of selling personal information for $40 to $65 and causing $1 million in losses. She has been sentenced to 54 months in federal prison.


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