2 Former MN Bankers Get Prison for Roles in ID Theft Ring

Former Wells Fargo banker Fawsiyo Hassan Farah reportedly received a 33-month prison sentence—and Michael Kweku Asibu, who worked as a personal banker at Bremer Bank and Associated Bank, reportedly received 42 months in prison.

Two former local bankers previously convicted of aggravated identity theft for their roles in a large identity theft ring that stole more than $50 million from U.S. banks reportedly received prison sentences on Wednesday.

Former Wells Fargo banker Fawsiyo Hassan Farah of Brooklyn Park received a 33-month sentence, plus five years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $94,500 in restitution, according to the Star Tribune. Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis also reportedly ordered that she be banned from the banking industry for life.

Meanwhile, Michael Kweku Asibu, who worked as a personal banker at Bremer Bank and Associated Bank, was sentenced to 42 months in prison and five years of supervised release, the Star Tribune reported. The restitution that he must pay will be determined at a later date. Asibu used to live in Eagan but is now a resident of Waterbury, Connecticut.

Farah and Asibu were part of a network that is said to have engaged in bank fraud, credit card fraud, identity theft, takeovers of home equity lines of credit, and money laundering.

The fraud scheme, dubbed “Operation Starburst,” spanned numerous states—Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, Arizona, New York, and Texas—and took place between 2006 and March 2011.

According to the Star Tribune, more than 30 people have either pleaded guilty or been convicted in the case, including six bankers. To date, four of the defendants have been sentenced.

Farah and Asibu reportedly apologized for their crimes and asked Davis to go easy on them. Davis, meanwhile, described the case as “one of the most outrageous cases I’ve ever seen” and said that what occurred was “mind-boggling.”

According to the Star Tribune, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ann Anaya said after the convictions of two other Operation Starburst participants that there was a “global impact of victims” in the case, and those victims numbered 8,700.

To read the Star Tribune story, which includes more about what occurred at Wednesday’s sentencing, click here.