Canadian's credit card fraud scheme said to top $1.5 million 

By , CardRatings contributor
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U.S Bank, Citibank and Discover each suffered a major hit recently due to identity theft and a serious case of fraud, all perpetrated by one man. A Canadian citizen, who was unemployed and receiving welfare assistance, is being charged with what prosecutors described as "one of the largest high-tech robberies in U.S history," according to Dave Kolpack of Associated Press.

The AP report indicates the case has taken five years to investigate, and it involves information stolen from more than 16,000 people and 22 banks. At least 500 of those people are reported to have had their identities stolen for the specific purpose of accessing their credit cards. While many of the victims experienced a financial loss, the amount of lost work time, family time and peace of mind was incalculable.

According to AP, the loss to all banks involved has been calculated at about $1.5 million. Citibank lost the most of any individual bank; $271,000. Second most-affected bank was Discover which lost about $248,000. In terms of the number of accounts, U.S. Bank had the most accounts affected at 130, which amounted to a loss of $76,000.

Both Citibank and Discover have a no-liability clause for their cardholders in the case of fraud. Federal Banking Regulations limit liability to $50 if the victim contacts the credit card company within two days, but both credit card companies hold cardholders blameless for fraudulent activity.

The accused, Adekunle Adelitoye, lived in an expensive condominium, drove a Range Rover and took a long trip to England before he was discovered with two credit cards with different names. According to AP, Adelitoye will be sentenced to nearly 18 years in prison on fraud charges. He was convicted of mail fraud; prosecutors say he opened more than 100 commercial mailboxes with the stolen identities. He is also charged with opening almost 600 fraudulent bank accounts and trying to scam 22 banks for hundreds of thousands of dollars, AP reported.

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