|Investigative Professionals in the Press
Investigative Professionals Helps Nab One
Largest High-Tech Bank Robberies in U.S. History
By Dave Kolpack
Published: Sunday, March 4 2012 12:50 p.m. MST
FARGO, N.D. "He came to us as Donald Douglas."
This image provided by
Investigative Professionals on Sunday, March 4, 2012 was used for fingerprints
and other evidence in the case of federal credit card fraud case that was tried
in North Dakota.
That's how Anni Adkins begins the story of
how her two-person background checks firm in the Desert Southwest helped bring
down what authorities call one of the largest high-tech bank robberies and one
of the most complicated fraud investigations in U.S. history.
Donald Douglas, in reality, is Adekunle Adetiloye. Federal investigators said
the 40-year-old Nigerian native living in Toronto helped organize a scheme that
stole the identities of 38,000 people and bilked 600 credit card and bank
accounts out of about $1.5 million.
Adetiloye is sitting in a Fargo jail, waiting to serve an 18-year prison term
after pleading guilty to mail fraud.
Adkins and Joe Hoover are the owners and operators of Investigative
Professionals LLC, based in New Mexico. They do background checks for
individuals and companies, with about 450 members. Adkins told The Associated
Press in a phone interview that she knows most of her client
thought she knew Donald Douglas.
"He's a very presentable young man," Adkins said of Adetiloye. "I'm sure if he
had taken his talents and developed a real business, he would have done real
Instead, a federal judge is trying to figure out the amount of money that should
be paid back to victims of the scheme.
Prosecutors said Adetiloye used the stolen identity of Donald Douglas to obtain
corporate status and a business license from the state of Delaware for SYSPAC
Financial Services, Inc., supposedly a debt collection company. Court documents
show that Adetiloye had a Donald Douglas credit card in his wallet when he was
arrested in Toronto on Dec., 1, 2007, kicking off the investigation in this
Adetiloye was able to access personal information of others through his
membership with Investigative Professionals.
"We were like a middleman, basically," Adkins said. "This guy is really smart,
and he's as much a con man as he is an identity thief."
Adkins and Hoover said they were angered by the scam and worked with the feds
for about six weeks at the end of 2008 and start of 2009. The company in a
cat-and-mouse game was able to coax Adetiloye into mailing a money order that
allowed investigators to obtain his fingerprints, among other evidence.
Adetiloye also left a voice mail message saying he was sending a check to
Investigative Professionals for an account. Investigators told the company that
the recording "was the nail in the guy's coffin," Adkins said.
The voice message ends with Donald Douglas wishing Adkins a merry Christmas.
U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon, who released a statement following Adetiloye's
sentencing on Jan. 23, said earlier this week that prosecutors would no longer
talk about the case. He would not give a reason.
However, U.S. Postal Service investigators said in emails to Adkins and Hoover
that they provided "outstanding assistance to the investigation" and said their
cooperation was invaluable.
The investigation picked up steam after it was discovered that Adetiloye was
unemployed and receiving limited welfare, yet ponied up for a Range Rover
vehicle, extended trips to England and an expensive condominium. Greg Krier,
lead credit card fraud investigator for U.S. Bank, testified during the
sentencing phase that it was the most complex case he had ever seen.
The case wound up in North Dakota after a U.S. Bank call center in Fargo
intercepted calls from Adetiloye and others. Defense attorneys have claimed that
Adetiloye's participation in the scheme was minimal compared to others who were
involved and he wasn't a leader of the operation. Only Adetiloye has been
"I didn't realize their operation was so big. I was just happy to get one of
them out of there," Adkins said.
"We're small potatoes in this whole thing, but we played a part," Hoover said.
"This falls into the category of civilians helping the government."