Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays part owner victimized in Internet hacking scheme

A member of the Tampa Bay Rays ownership group was the victim of an Internet hacking scheme originating in Nigeria that led to the theft of nearly $40,000 and the subsequent arrest of a couple in Texas, police said.

Randy Frankel, one of 18 investors in the team, told St. Petersburg police in February of an issue with an email from his assistant's AOL account to a Rays email account containing instructions to Wells Fargo Bank for payment of a dividend from a common private investment account.

Investigation by the economic crimes unit found that the $38,326.26 was instead routed — through an Internet fraud called "whaling" — to a Bank of America account for Madoussou Odebode, a Houston area woman.

St. Petersburg police notified Harris County Sheriffs, and through surveillance video they found Odebode, and her husband, Oluwatomiwa, withdrawing some of the money in the form of cashier's checks and depositing it into another personal account.

The Odebodes, of Nigeria, were arrested last week and charged with third-degree felony theft, and bonded out of jail with court appearances forthcoming in January.

Frankel, 60, is an original member of the Stuart Sternberg-led ownership group that took over the team in 2005, and a former partner, with Sternberg, on Wall Street at the Speer, Leeds & Kellog. Frankel has homes in Miami Beach and New Jersey.

Also, former Rays catcher Curt Casali signed a minor-league deal with the Angels.

Rays part owner victimized in Internet hacking scheme 11/28/17 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 28, 2017 7:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2018 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. With Victor Hedman out, Lightning's Slater Koekkoek finally gets chance to prove himself

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When it comes to replacing its top defenseman, the Lightning realizes that's not possible.

  2. Abuse survivor confronts gymnastics doctor: 'I have been coming for you for a long time'


    Two yearbook photos floated side-by-side on a projection screen in the Michigan courtroom.

  3. Gap closing between River Ridge and soccer power Sunlake


    NEW PORT RICHEY — The string of state tournament runs for Sunlake High School has made a great mark for Pasco County boys soccer.

  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Can the Lightning keep up this pace?

    Lightning Strikes

    In their latest podcast, Tom Jones sits down with Joe Smith to catch up on the Lightning through 44 games as it gets set to come back from the bye week.

  5. Plant City boys basketball feasts on community support


    PLANT CITY — One morning a few days before Christmas, Plant City High's boys basketball team piled into a local eatery for some pre-tournament breakfast.