DE: Man Charged in $4 Million Tax Fraud Scheme Involving Hundreds of Stolen Identities

I’m not really sure whether this belongs on this blog on phiprivacy.net because they don’t tell us where/how the identity information was obtained, so I am posting it here:

WILMINGTON, Del. – Charles M. Oberly, III, United States Attorney for the District of Delaware, announced that an Indictment has been handed down by a federal grand jury charging James Ekeke, age 26, of Smyrna, Georgia, with false claims conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 286), aiding and abetting access device fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029 & 2), wire fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1343), and money laundering (18 U.S.C. § 1956).  The defendant faces up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud and money laundering charges, and 10 years on the remaining counts, in addition to possible fines and restitution.

The Indictment alleges that, from January through November 2013, the defendant obtained hundreds of names and social security numbers of individuals in Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, and elsewhere.  The defendant supplied the identity information to co-conspirators in Delaware, who used the information to file more than 600 fraudulent tax returns, seeking more than $4 million in refunds.  Many of the victims were individuals who receive Social Security Disability benefits.

The Indictment further alleges that the tax fraud conspiracy electronically filed the fraudulent tax returns, using another person’s identity, as if the returns were submitted by a tax preparer.  The defendant and his co-conspirators are alleged to have received the refund proceeds into bank accounts they owned and controlled, and they are alleged to have conducted further transactions with the proceeds in cash and by money order, to conceal and disguise the nature and source of the fraudulent tax refunds.

Festus Frimpong, another individual involved in the scheme, has pleaded guilty to false claims conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 286), and access device fraud (18 U.S.C. § 1029 & 2).  Frimpong awaits sentencing on October 20, 2014.

The charges in the Indictment are only allegations.  The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

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

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