“We have numerous other suspects, including some bank employees,” Stephens said. “We are definitely pursuing other cells.”
In her closing arguments last week, Anaya ticked off the crimes she said the defendants participated in: bank fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, takeovers of home equity lines of credit. She said bank insiders protected the ring by watching for red flags that would trigger investigations or lead authorities to the ringleaders.
“We saw a global impact of victims in this case,” Anaya said. “Eighty-seven hundred individuals, around the world.”
For his part, Okeayainneh’s attorney, Jean Brandl, argued that his client “is not the queen bee; he’s a wannabe.”
Okeayainneh was caught with a storage locker full of incriminating evidence. “He’s the ID guy,” Brandl said. “It’s like he’s a hoarder of useless identity information.”
Daniel Mohs acknowledged that his client, Adeniran, was guilty of making purchases with fraudulent credit cards. But he said he did it on his own, not as part of a grand conspiracy.
The Minneapolis defendants
David, 39, testified that she came to the United States in 2002, seeking political asylum from her native Liberia. She had a degree in marketing management, and earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix in 2009. She had started working for Wells Fargo in 2007 and earned many accolades and bonuses.
She denied knowing anything about the conspiracy.
“I’ve been waiting for this day,” David said when she testified, noting that she’s been unable to work in her field because of the charges.
Myles Schneider, her attorney, told jurors that David did nothing more than her job. “She did not provide inside information to anybody.”
Osei-Tutu, 36, testified that he was born in Ghana. He has a sister in Savage and a brother in Atlanta. His father, a physician in Ghana, earned his medical degree from the University of California-Los Angeles. His mother formerly worked for Ghana’s central bank.
Osei-Tutu became a U.S. citizen in 2008, is married and has two children. He denied knowing any of his co-defendants.
He said when two members of the conspiracy tried to open an account at U.S. Bank, he reported his suspicions to his manager. A year later, when one of the men returned in an undercover capacity, he gave the man phony account information that couldn’t be used, and again told management.
Investigators accused him of taking a bribe, but Osei-Tutu said he turned in the money and didn’t pocket any of it.
Glen Bruder, Osei-Tutu’s lawyer, argued that Osei-Tutu was duped by professional criminals, “like hundreds of other bankers across the country.” He accused investigators of believing so much in their case that they were blind to his innocence.
After the verdict, Osei-Tutu said he had no hard feelings toward bank employees who testified. But he does feel anger toward the government.
“They took one year of my life,” he said.