Man pleads guilty in international car and identity theft ring

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A man pleaded guilty in San Diego Wednesday to being part of a West African-based international car theft and identity theft ring.

Edmund Seshie, 42, of Columbus, Ohio, admitted guilt in a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jan Adler.

Co-defendant Abdul Rezak Shaib, 28, of Bronx, N.Y., pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.

Both men are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 5.

The defendants admitted purchasing stolen credit cards and corresponding counterfeit driver’s licenses in bulk from a Singapore-based “carder” website. The stolen identities were then used to fraudulently purchase nearly $500,000 worth of vehicles from U.S.-based car dealerships.

So-called “carders” buy, sell and trade online the credit card data stolen from phishing sites or from large data breaches at retail stores.

“This case is notable in terms of its level of sophistication, its audacious methods and the callous disregard for victims,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. “These guilty pleas are the first strike back on behalf of identity theft victims who now have to reclaim their good names, a frustrating task that can take years.”

According to court documents, co-defendant Henry Addo ran the international car theft ring from his home in Ghana.

From various locations in that country, Addo allegedly placed international phone calls to car dealerships in the United States. During those calls, Addo allegedly assumed the identity of the stolen credit card holders during the negotiation of each purchase.

Addo then allegedly used a series of email accounts to transmit the counterfeit driver’s licenses and stolen credit card information to United States-based car dealerships.

According to the indictment, Addo motivated his United States-based co-conspirators to participate in the conspiracy by invoking “Sakawa,” a Ghanaian practice that combines modern Internet-based fraud practices targeting foreigners with traditional African religious rituals.

According to the indictment, the defendants paid for the cars using stolen credit cards, then had the vehicles exported to Africa, where they were sold on the open market.

Addo remains a fugitive and is believed to still be in Africa, prosecutors said.

Categories: KUSI