By Caitlin Ferrell
A Stony Brook senior was arrested Jan. 26 on identity theft charges. Oluwole Owoseni, a computer science major, was arraigned on Jan. 27 and charged with one count of first degree identity theft, two counts unlawful possession of personal identifiers and criminal possession of stolen property. The identity theft and stolen property charges are felonies and, if convicted, could result in one or more years in prison for each charge.
Owoseni is accused of using two students’ information to apply for a Sallie Mae student loan and credit card. Owoseni applied for the loan online, which was approved and sent directly to the university, before the victim notified Stony Brook police. The case was referred to Suffolk County Police.
Owoseni, who worked for the Student Affairs and Career Center, was arrested just as he was to begin his final semester. The Student Affairs office declined to comment, but Marianna Savoca, Director of the Career Center, said Owoseni worked at the center only during the summer of 2008.
Savoca said Owoseni worked in clerical support and on office projects, but never had access to the students’ information. “At no point were these numbers given to [Owoseni],” Savoca said. “No students have security access.” The two victims’ information was at the Career Center as part of a scholarship program of which Owoseni had not taken part.
Suffolk Police believe the violation was minor and that the Stony Brook student database system was not breached. In a news release last week, police said, “The investigation indicates that the security of the school’s student database was not breached and the number of students affected is very small.” The Computer Crimes Unit, now handling the case, is continuing to contact students whose information may have been endangered.
“He was a good kid,” Savoca said, adding that the office was “shocked.” It is not known exactly how Owoseni obtained the information. “The students need to understand that no one ever wants these things to happen and when things happen you don’t expect, you must take swift action.” Students do not have security access at the Career Center, and Savoca said even interns who review résumés are stressed to protect students’ confidentiality.
Owoseni did not return requests for comment. Stony Brook and Suffolk County police did not immediately return requests for comment.