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Man faces new charges in ChoicePoint ID theft

Nigerian man, who has already been sentenced to 16 months in prison, now faces 22 more charges.

A Nigerian man has been indicted for infiltrating consumer-data company ChoicePoint to fraudulently access financial records of consumers in a still-widening case that has spurred calls for tighter regulation of the personal information business.

Oluwatunji Oluwatosin, who had already been sentenced to 16 months in prison in the ChoicePoint case, now faces 22 more charges, Los Angeles prosecutors said Tuesday.

The additional counts came as authorities broadened their investigation of data theft at ChoicePoint and said they expected more people to be charged in the case.

Prosecutors said about 1,500 people had their personal data fraudulently accessed and an estimated 148,000 people nationwide were exposed to identity theft. The ChoicePoint case first came to light in February when the company--as required by state law--informed some 35,000 Californians that they were at risk for identity theft.

"The 22-count grand jury indictment unsealed today represents one of the largest cases of identity theft ever prosecuted in Los Angeles County," Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said.

The breach prompted investigations by federal authorities and a U.S. Senate committee. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has used the ChoicePoint case to back her call for a federal law like the California regulation requiring data companies to advise consumers when their information has been compromised.

Oluwatosin, 42, a resident of the Los Angeles suburb of North Hollywood, is accused of using mail drops to dupe ChoicePoint into thinking he ran a legitimate business, which allowed him access to the Georgia company's vast collection of consumer information.

Prosecutors say Oluwatosin and other members of a fraud ring used that information to access existing credit card accounts or set up new accounts.

The case caused $2 million in losses to Bank of America, Citibank, Bank One, Household Bank and Discover and another $2 million to ChoicePoint to cover the costs of notifying consumers whose data had been compromised.

In February, Oluwatosin was sentenced to 16 months in prison after pleading no contest to a single count of identity theft in the ChoicePoint case. Authorities continued the investigation while he was in prison.

Oluwatosin faces 22 years in prison if convicted on all of the counts in the new indictment, which charges him with conspiracy, grand theft, identity theft and credit card access fraud.

A second Nigerian national, Kabiru Olatunde Ipaye, 43, has been charged in a related case with receiving stolen property, access fraud, possessing a forged driver's license and other counts.

ChoicePoint's databases contain 19 billion public records, including driving records, sex-offender lists and FBI lists of wanted criminals and suspected terrorists.