WASHINGTON – Kelvin Otunyo, 37, of Hyattsville, Md., was sentenced today to 90 months in prison on federal charges stemming from his role in at least six schemes to deposit and launder stolen and unauthorized checks valued at more than $350,000.
The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Robert E. Bornstein, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office, Criminal Division, and Special Agent in Charge Shimon R. Richmond, of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC OIG).
Otunyo, a Nigerian national, pleaded guilty on April 1, 2021, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to two counts of bank fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and two counts of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He was sentenced by the Honorable Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell. Following his prison term, he will be placed on four years of supervised release. Otunyo also was ordered to pay a restitution judgment in the amount of $124,157, and a forfeiture money judgment in the amount of $303,207.
According to court papers, between August 2017 and at least August 2018, Otunyo and co-conspirators engaged in a series of schemes in which they obtained stolen or unauthorized checks from victims, established fraudulent shell corporations and bank accounts, and deposited or attempted to deposit the checks before laundering the resulting proceeds. The frauds were committed using false IDs and fraudulent aliases. Otunyo also procured the real name and Social Security number of an identity theft victim for use in one of the schemes.
In total, the six schemes involved nine stolen or unauthorized checks from eight victims totaling $355,745.29.
As part of the larger investigation of Otunyo and others involved in laundering the proceeds of various frauds, business email compromises, and bad check schemes, at least three other defendants have been charged. In June 2019, Chief Judge Howell sentenced Michael Orji, 42, formerly of Washington D.C, to 10 years of incarceration, five years of supervised release, and $905,274 in restitution. One of Otunyo’s co-conspirators, Samson Olawale Afolabi, 36, of Hyattsville, Md., has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing on Oct. 1, 2021. Another defendant, Jamar Skeete, 37, of Washington, D.C., has been indicted in connection with similar, related fraud and money laundering; he has pleaded not guilty to charges.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation-Office of Inspector General. Assistance was provided by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher B. Brown and Charles Willoughby, Jr., with assistance from Paralegal Specialists Chad Byron, Rhonda Richardson, and former Paralegal Specialist C. Rosalind Pressley.