PA: 18 Named In Tax Refund Fraud Scheme Affecting Over 11,000 Victims

Eighteen individuals from around the United States have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The thirteen-count superseding indictment named Doherty Kushimo, 53, of Providence, Rhode Island; Saburi Adeyemi, 57, of Memphis, Tennessee; Abiodun Bakre, 50, of Ozone Park, New York; Adetunji Gbadegeshi, 57, of Rosedale, New York; Adebola Mejule, 55, of Hempstead, New York; Michael Idowu Olugbade, 43; Xerxes Shevar, 47, of Brooklyn, New York; Gcobisa Kehle, 37, of Brooklyn, New York; Loyiso Kula, 43, of New York City; Abiodun Tijani, 44, of Staten Island, New York; Funmilayo Aliyu, 53, of Laurelton, New York; Bola Peters, 43, of New York City; Samuel Sobaloju, 52, of Far Rockaway, New York; Daniel Freeman, 49, of Danbury, Connecticut; Nana Baffour, 38, of Bronx, New York; Kwame Asamoah, 35, of Brooklyn, New York; Robert Wireko, 47, of Brooklyn, New York; and Alaire Sanya, 47, of Far Rockaway, New York, as defendants.

According to the indictment presented to the court, the eighteen defendants conspired to commit wire fraud by submitting fraudulent federal tax returns in the names of individuals whose identities the conspirators stole. The conspirators then opened bank accounts using stolen identities and used those accounts as repositories for their fraudulently obtained federal tax refunds. The conspirators obtained stolen identity information on the Internet and then traded that information among themselves using email accounts and other means of communication. All told, the indictment alleges that, for the tax years 2010 to 2013, approximately $38 million in fraudulent tax refunds was sought from the IRS by the conspirators, causing the IRS to pay at least $10 million in fraudulent refunds. The indictment also alleges that approximately 3,493 bank accounts were opened using stolen identities, affecting approximately 443 financial institutions, and that approximately 4,563 credit cards were obtained using stolen identities. Approximately 11,468 individuals are alleged in the indictment to have been victimized.

SOURCE: U.S. Attorney’s Office, Western District of Pennsylvania

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