Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fraudster Nabbed Thanks to Facebook

The Associated Press reports today that 26-year-old native of Cameroon is now in a Mexico City jail, where he is awaiting extradition to the United States on bank fraud charges -- thanks to his incessant post on Facebook about the high life in Cancun and befriending a special FBI agent.

Federal prosecutors say he and an associate falsely obtained more than $200,000 from Seattle-area banks and credit unions.

"He was making posts about how beautiful life is and how he was having a good time with his buddies," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Scoville, who helped find Sopo. "He was definitely not living the way we wanted him to be living, given the charges he was facing."

Although Sopo's profile was set to private, his list of friends was not, and Scoville started combing through it. He was surprised to see that one friend listed an affiliation with the Justice Department and sent him a message requesting a phone call.

Prosecutors say he masterminded the bank fraud scheme with Edward Asatoorians, who was convicted by a federal jury in Seattle last week. Testimony at trial indicated the pair persuaded young co-conspirators to lie about their income to obtain loans for fabricated auto purchases, and then used the money to prop up Asatoorians' business and to take an expensive trip to Las Vegas.

Asatoorians is expected to face at least five years in prison when he's sentenced. If convicted, Sopo could face up to 30 years.

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