Nigerian man sentenced to 30 months for $348K scam against Dickinson company

Investigations concluded that scammers obtained checks through a computer intrusion scam before fleeing the country

William L. Guy Federal Building
The William L. Guy Federal Building in Bismarck.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

BISMARCK — A Nigerian man has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $348,000 in restitution for committing mail fraud against a Dickinson-based company.

Kolawole Bamidele Akande, 37, appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Daniel M. Traynor of the United States District Court for the District of North Dakota.

Akande was arrested in the U.K. on Sept. 5, 2021, on charges related to the fraud. On April 9, 2022, he was extradited from the U.K. to North Dakota to face charges. In a preliminary hearing Nov. 8, 2022, he and his attorney entered a guilty plea on all counts, including mail fraud.

The scheme involved Akande and other co-defendants obtaining checks from the unnamed Dickinson-based company through the mail and depositing them in fraudulent accounts at financial institutions in Texas. The company was the victim of a computer intrusion scam that successfully tricked its controller into issuing checks totaling $348,000.

The company lost $298,000 in the scam.


Akande used a fraudulent U.K. passport under the name Patric Elis Ferguson to open a bank account at a Dallas branch of Bank of America. He then received emails appearing to come from the company’s principal owners, instructing the controller to mail a $192,000 check to an address in Dallas, payable to “Patel Retail and Logistics.”

The controller complied and sent the check via overnight United Parcel Service mail to Dallas, as requested in the email. Akande and his co-conspirators deposited the check into the Bank of America account he had opened using the name Patric Elis Ferguson and withdrew or transferred the funds to conceal their nature, location, source and ownership.

An investigation launched by the FBI, United States Postal Inspection Service, Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Northern District and Eastern District of Texas would later reveal that the Dickinson company was in fact a victim of computer intrusion, as an unknown individual had obtained access to the company’s principal owners’ Outlook 365 email accounts and sent emails to the company’s controller directing the controller to mail the check to “Patel Retail and Logistics.”

Co-defendants Olawale Sule and Oluwafemi Elijah Olasode, who were previously sentenced in this case, received two years’ imprisonment and payment of restitution on a charge of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and time served imprisonment and payment of restitution on a charge of misprision of felony, respectively.

“Too often, swindlers believe they can evade justice because they are behind a computer or operating internationally,” said U.S. Attorney Mac Schneider. “This sentence shows they should think again. This outcome is a credit to the skilled law enforcement investigators and prosecutors who patiently saw this case through.”

The Office of International Affairs and the Department of Justice assisted the case by securing the extradition of Akande, while Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan J. O’Konek prosecuted the case.

James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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