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Nigerian sentenced in ChoicePoint ID theft case

LOS ANGELES — A Nigerian national who pleaded guilty to identity theft charges related to information stolen from consumer data collector ChoicePoint Inc. was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $6.5 million in restitution.

Olatunji Oluwatosin, 42, of North Hollywood, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Bob Bowers Jr.

Oluwatosin pleaded guilty in December to conspiracy to commit computer access fraud and grand theft, the district attorney’s office said in a statement.

He was indicted by a grand jury in August 2005 on 22 counts of identity theft, conspiracy, grand theft and credit card fraud.

Oluwatosin was serving a 16-month prison term for a separate identity theft case last year when he was indicted.

The charges spanned a period of more than two years beginning in January 2002. Prosecutors alleged that a fake business called “Pacific Collections” used a Beverly Hills mail drop to set up a ChoicePoint account. The process was repeated with mail drops in North Hollywood, Encino, North Hills and West Hollywood with fake businesses that accessed ChoicePoint data.

Prosecutors alleged that the personal information of more than 1,500 people was fraudulently accessed. The information was used to access existing credit card accounts or to set up new accounts through identity theft, prosecutors said.

Oluwatosin, when he entered his plea, admitted stealing more than $2.5 million.

The company discovered the breach in September 2004, and an investigation led to Oluwatosin’s arrest in October 2004.


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