United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald has charged three Nigerians with indictments bordering on wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy.
The suspects are Olufemi Oluwaseun Banjo 37, Francis Nwabueze Iwuoha 38 and Oluwadamilare Gbenga Macaulay 32.
According to the allegations in the indictments, from March 2016, through February 2018, Banjo Iwuoha and Macaulay all citizens of Nigeria, gained unauthorized access to internet accounts of thousands of individual victims to steal Personal Identifying Information (PII) and IRS W-2 Forms.
“The access was used to file false tax returns in the names of the individual victims seeking fraudulent refunds.
“As part of the scheme, Banjo, Iwuoha, Macaulay and others gained unauthorized access to approximately 1,200 individuals’ accounts maintained by a Minnesota-based company that provides human resource and payroll services to numerous businesses.
“The accounts were registered with a web-based program that allowed employees to download a copy of their IRS Form W-2 from an internet portal.
“After fraudulently obtaining PII and tax information from the accounts, Banjo, Iwuoha, Macaulay and others used the information to prepare and electronically file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.
“As part of the scheme, the suspect also gained unauthorized access to individuals’ accounts maintained by the Department of Education by exploiting an online tool that facilitates the transfer of individuals’ PII and tax information from the IRS website to the Department of Education.
“The defendants used the stolen information to prepare and electronically file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.
As a result of the scheme, Banjo, Iwuoha, Macaulay and others attempted to claim a total of approximately $16.4 million in fraudulent tax refunds.” It read.
CANDIIDONLINE gathered that the cases are the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, and the FBI.