A LeFrak City tenant has been charged with the theft of more than $100,000 between November 2011 and May 2013 by stealing the personal identities of dozens of former and current residents at the 20-building apartment complex.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Olawale Akinnawonu, 45, used his neighbors’ stolen identities to unlawfully open up bank and credit card accounts in their names through which he then laundered tenant checks – including monthly rent checks that he is alleged to have stolen from a U.S. mailbox at the apartment complex. He is to be arraigned on a 134-count indictment including second-degree money laundering, first-degree identity theft, third-degree grand larceny, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, second-degree identity theft, fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny.
Brown said that the matter came to light when numerous complaints were filed with the NYPD concerning the theft of checks which were meant to pay rent. Each victim placed the rent check in the secure outbox for United States mail at LeFrak City, but the checks never made it to the leasing companies which manage the payments.
Video cameras were placed throughout the mail areas in LeFrak City as part of the investigation and allegedly revealed Akinnawonu gaining access to both the locked secure outbox for US Mail and mailboxes where the credit card companies were mailing checks in the names of others.
Akinnawonu allegedly had deposited the checks into a number of different bank accounts, including accounts that he had opened in the name of other LeFrak City residents without their authority. In addition, Akinnawonu allegedly opened a number of credit card accounts in the name of LeFrak City residents without their permission or authority and he then utilized account balance transfer checks on these accounts to steal the money.
If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.