IRS Indentity Theft Cases
WASHINGTON, March 3, 2015 - WASHINGTON — Continuing its enforcement push against refund fraud and identity theft, the Internal Revenue Service today announced the Top Ten Identity Theft Prosecutions for Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14). The ongoing efforts to bring identity thieves to justice remains a significant priority as part of the IRS’s comprehensive identity theft strategy focusing on preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible.
“Identity theft is a crime that carries significant consequences, and these cases send a warning to criminals,” said Richard Weber, Chief, IRS-Criminal Investigation. “Our top 10 cases represent the seriousness of these crimes and the magnitude of the consequences that will be faced by those who victimize honest taxpayers and steal from hard-working Americans.”
2. Georgia Man Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Identity Theft - On Aug. 25, 2014, in Atlanta, Georgia, Mauricio Warner was sentenced to 240 months, three years of supervised release, ordered to pay $5,041,869 in restitution and forfeiture of bank accounts that contained $4,185,455. Warner was convicted on wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, filing false claims, and money laundering. Warner filed over 5,000 false tax returns using the names and social security numbers of unsuspecting victims that were told they could submit an application for an “Obama stimulus payment” or “Free Government Money” by providing their names and social security numbers. In addition to word-of-mouth marketing, Warner used toll-free telephone numbers to collect victims’ personal identifying information.
3. Dallas Men Sentenced for Role in Massive Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme - On May 15, 2014, in Dallas Texas, Ogiesoba City Osula was sentenced to 210 months in prison and ordered to pay $15.9 million in restitution. Osula was convicted on conspiracy to commit wire fraud, mail fraud and bank fraud; presenting fraudulent claims upon the U.S.; access device fraud and aiding and abetting; and aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting. Previously sentenced were co-defendants: George Ojonugwa, sentenced to 174 months and ordered to pay $15,979,187 in restitution; Eseos Igiebor, sentenced to 96 months and ordered to pay $9,660,658 in restitution; Ebenezer Legbedion, sentenced to 40 months and ordered to pay more than $1 million in restitution; and Evelyn Nyaboke Haley sentenced to 60 months and ordered to pay approximately $5.7 million in restitution. The defendants conspired to defraud the United States by using stolen identity information and false information to create and electronically file false tax returns to claim refunds. On Nov. 8, 2011, police in a Cincinnati suburb questioned Osula and Ojonugwa, who were in a parked car. When the vehicle was searched, police found more than $300,000 in cash and money orders and numerous debit cards. During that incident, while Osula was in a police car and waiting to be questioned, he ate a debit card.
4. Floridian Sentenced in Identity Theft Tax Fraud and Social Security Schemes - On Sept. 17, 2014, in Miami, Florida, Kevin Cimeus, was sentenced to 156 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Cimeus was convicted of conspiracy to steal government property or money, theft of government money or property, access device theft, and aggravated identity theft. Federal agents found over 2,400 social security numbers and names of real people stored on thumb drives, laptop computers, iPad, and Cimeus’ email account at Cimeus’ residence. Cimeus recruited Miami Dade College students to allow him to use their bank accounts to receive fraudulently obtained tax refunds. Cimeus also used his own bank accounts to receive fraudulently obtained tax refunds. Cimeus filed at least one thousand tax returns from two IP addresses. He also used the two IP addresses to access the Social Security Administration’s web site and create online profiles for social security recipients in order to re-route the victims’ social security payments to other accounts.
5. Ohio Man Sentenced for Participation in $3.5 Million Identity Theft Scam - On Aug. 21, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio, Roma L. Sims was sentenced to 100 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $3,517,534 in restitution to the IRS. Sims pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and conspiring to commit identity theft in a scheme to defraud the IRS. Sims advertised through various means in order to collect personal identification information from low-income or unemployed single parents with children. After tricking the innocent individuals who responded into providing their personal identification information, Sims prepared and filed false income tax returns in their names. Sims also obtained additional personal identification information by conspiring with Robert Earthman, who had access to the Kentucky child support enforcement database, which contained personal identification information of single parents with children who were recipients of child support. In total, Sims was responsible for the preparation and filing of approximately 977 income tax returns for the 2010 - 2012 tax years. Samantha C. Towns was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $1,312,513 in restitution to the IRS. Robert S. Earthman was sentenced to 24 months in prison, three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $1,312,513 in restitution to the IRS.
6. New York Tax Preparer Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns and Aggravated Identity TheftOn April 24, 2014, Mahamadou Daffe, a tax preparer in Queens, N.Y., was sentenced to 102 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Daffe was found guilty of conspiracy to steal government funds, theft of government funds, conspiracy to file false claims, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with the preparation and filing of nearly 1,000 false income tax returns submitted online using stolen identities.
7. Alabama Man Sentenced for Scheme Using Prisoner Identities to Obtain False Tax Refunds
8. Several Sentenced in $19 Million Tax Fraud Conspiracy - On December 30, 2013, in Anchorage, Alaska, Joel Santana-Pierna and Abel Santana-Pierna, citizens of the Dominican Republic residing in Alaska, were sentenced to 135 months and 72 months in prison, respectively. In addition, they were ordered to pay $559,755 in restitution to the IRS and agreed to forfeit approximately $130,000 obtained as part of their drug trafficking activities. The brothers pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine and conspiracy to defraud the government. The Santana-Pierna brothers conspired to use more than 3,000 stolen Puerto Rican identities to file false income tax returns and obtain large income tax refunds to which they were not entitled. In total, eleven individuals have been sentenced in this scheme with sentencings ranging from probation to 135 months in prison.
9. Woman Sentenced for Tax Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft -
10. Bogus Charity Operator Sentenced for ID Theft and Wire Fraud Scheme - On June 12, 2014, in Columbus, Ohio, Jonathan Webster was sentenced to 108 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,457,936 in restitution. Webster pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. Webster purchased advertising in newspapers representing himself as a charity seeking to provide financial assistance to others. Webster set up an online website where individuals responding to the advertisements could provide their names and social security numbers. Webster and a co-conspirator electronically filed more than 500 false income tax returns using the names and social security numbers of the individuals.