Crime

Report: Boise fraud case among convictions that have spoiled Nigerian rapper’s career

Babalola Falemi
Babalola Falemi

Babalola Falemi, known in music circles as Sauce Kid and Sinzu, was sentenced this week to two years in federal prison after stealing $15,388 during a visit last summer to the Treasure Valley.

Falemi obtained stolen bank card numbers and identifying information for their owners. He then encoded the account numbers onto blank plastic cards. After using an automated system to change account PINs, he was able to withdraw cash from bank ATMS and buy merchandise from stores between July 23 and 26.

All of the losses took place at Boise ATMs owned by Idaho Central Credit Union and at Albertsons stores in Meridian, court documents alleged.

Police arrested Falemi at the Boise Airport as he was about to board a flight. He was caught with a card encoding device and most than $6,000 in cash.

Falemi was initially charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, eight counts each of bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, and possession of 15 or more fraudulent bank cards.

He pleaded guilty to one of the counts of aggravated identity theft. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed the other counts. Senior U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also placed him on one year of supervised release after his prison term.

Pulse.ng, a Nigeria news and entertainment website, described Falemi as “one of Nigeria’s most gifted rappers.” A story published in May said bad decisions and Falemi’s criminal acts in the United States have kept him from cashing in on his talent.

“When Sinzu first hit the ground running, no one would have projected that he would hit these low levels of alleged criminality, and lose focus on his music. And that’s because he showed so much promise. Everyone believed in his talent because he had it in him,” wrote Pulse.ng writer Joey Akan.

The cover of his 2015 album “Industreet” shows Falemi with his hands behind his back, clad in gold-plated bracelets, rings — and handcuffs. One of the songs on that album is titled “Man Make the Money.”

John Sowell: 208-377-6423, @IDS_Sowell

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