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The U.S. Department of Justice announced that seven individuals have been indicted by a grand jury in a “sophisticated” conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as well as other crimes related to their scheme to defraud the IRS of over $100 million by using stolen identities.
“According to the indictment, from 2018 through 2021, Abraham Yusuff, of Round Rock, Meghan Inyang, of San Antonio, Christopher Eduardo, of Round Rock, Christian Mathurin, of Nashville, Tennessee, Dillon Anozie, of San Antonio, Babajide Ogunbanjo, of Austin, and Aydin Mammadov, of Houston, engaged in a conspiracy to claim fraudulent tax refunds using the stolen identities of accountants and taxpayers by filing at least 371 false tax returns claiming over $111 million in refunds from the IRS,” the DOJ said in a press release.
“Yusuff allegedly recruited and directed Eduardo, Mathurin, Anozie, Ogunbanjo, and Mammadov to provide addresses to him that could be used in the scheme. Yusuff and others then allegedly registered with the IRS, posing as authorized agents of multiple taxpayers using stolen information relating to the taxpayers and their real tax preparers. The conspirators then allegedly directed the IRS to change the addresses on file for the taxpayers and to send their tax information, including account transcripts and wage records, to the addresses controlled by the conspirators. The conspirators then allegedly used this information to electronically file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds and directed the refunds the IRS to split the refunds among several prepaid debit cards. Prior to issuing tax refunds to some taxpayers, the IRS allegedly sent verification letters to the addresses controlled by the defendants, and the defendants and others, pretending to be the taxpayers, instructed the IRS to release the refunds,” the DOJ added.
“The indictment charges each defendant with varying crimes, including mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, and access device fraud. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the mail and wire fraud and the conspiracy of said fraud, 20 years for money laundering, 10 years for access device fraud, and a mandatory sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft. In addition to any term of imprisonment, each of the defendants also faces a period of supervised release, monetary penalties, restitution, and forfeiture. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors,” it added.
Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced an enforcement operation that led to several high-ranking MS-13 gang members being arrested and indicted.
Jose Domingo Ordonez-Zometa — a 33-year-old from Maryland who went by the nickname “Felon” — was sentenced to life in prison for racketeering, murder in aid of racketeering, and conspiring to destroy evidence connected to his participation in La Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13).
“Today’s action makes clear that there is no hiding place, anywhere in the world, for the leaders of violent gangs that terrorize American communities,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “The Justice Department will continue to use the full force of our law enforcement authorities to disrupt and dismantle MS-13 and other transnational criminal organizations and hold their leaders accountable.”
“The FBI will continue to vigorously investigate and hold transnational organized groups like MS-13 and their leaders accountable for the continued violent and terrorist criminal activities they orchestrate,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Today’s indictment demonstrates the FBI’s reach and commitment to seeking justice against those individuals who jeopardize American lives and liberty. We will never stop working in coordination with our international partners to protect our respective citizens from MS-13 and other gangs wherever they are.”
“The relentless and heroic efforts of law enforcement here and in Central America are systemically dismantling the MS-13 from the very top to bottom, and we will not stop until this transnational gang and its leaders are held accountable for the extreme violence they have inflicted on our district, the United States and the countries where this scourge is based,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace for the Eastern District of New York.