A Canadian man faces nearly 22 years in prison after been charged with one of the largest credit card fraud schemes in US history.

Adekunle Adetiloye, 30, pleaded guilty to mail fraud at a federal court in Fargo, North Dakota, but he is alleged to have masterminded a scheme to open nearly 600 fraudulent bank accounts and con 22 major banks out of $1.5 million (£960,000).

The case case wound up in North Dakota after US Bank's customer service centre in Fargo intercepted calls by Adetiloye and others, though no one else has been charged in the case.

The complexity of the scheme, which took five years to investigate and litigate, was highlighted in a sentencing phase that has lasted nearly a year and included numerous hearings and briefings.

"Characterizing this fraud scheme as massive, if anything, is an understatement," Assistant US Attorney Nick Chase from North Dakota said in court documents, the Associated Press reported.

The lead investigator was one of 25 people involved in the cse and spent 2000 hours gathering evidence.

Defence attorneys have argued that Adetiloye was a "marginal and minimal participant", whose role was to handle mail and withdraw money from ATMs. The government and the judge have said otherwise.

Adetiloye is alleged to have masterminded an operation that accessed information on nearly 16,000 people, of whom about 500 of these had their identities stolen for the purpose of obtaining credit cards.

He was expected to be sentenced on 23 January.