Santa Barbara County sheriff’s detectives rebooked 26-year-old Imoukhuede Ohiwerei Ehimi earlier this week after further investigation revealed several new victims of his identity theft schemes.
Ehimi was charged on Dec. 21 for allegedly procuring at least $158,000 from five Santa Barbara and Goleta residents. Despite the nature of his crimes, Ehimi spent a week in jail before posting $150,000 bail and relocating to Fontana. However, after new information was made evident, Ehimi was arrested for a second time. He is currently booked in the San Bernardino County Jail with a $1 million bail.
According to Public Information Officer Drew Sugars, the trial will remain on hold until detectives have finalized victims’ claims.
“No official total has been released yet in terms of what kind of jail time he will be looking at, just because we are unsure of all the numbers,” said Sugars. “I am sure you could calculate it based on the number of counts he is currently charged with, though.”
Prior to the second arrest, detectives established that Ehimi searched areas of Goleta for unprotected internet connections in order access private information, including bank accounts. Ehimi allegedly transferred money — ranging from $5,000 to $65,500 at a time — from victims’ legitimate bank accounts into fraudulent bank accounts set up under their names. Ehimi then used the stolen acquired information at Wal-Mart and other similar locations to process money orders, enabling himself access to the stolen funds.
Sugars said Ehimi will face a minimum of multiple counts of identity theft, but the district attorney offices’ have yet to decide the location of Ehimi’s trial.
“[The trial location] completely depends on the D.A. in that county, but most likely he would have to be transported back up here,” Sugars said. “First and foremost, he committed crimes in our county so he will have to be tried here. Anything outside of that will be up to the D.A.”