OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
JOHN F. WOOD
Contact Don Ledford, Public Affairs ● (816) 426-4220 ● 400 East Ninth Street, Room 5510 ● Kansas City, MO 64106
SEPTEMBER 17, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THREE MORE PLEAD GUILTY TO ROLES IN $15 MILLION
TAX FRAUD CONSPIRACY
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – John F. Wood, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced today that three more co-defendants have pleaded guilty in federal court to their roles in a multi-million dollar conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service. The wire fraud scheme involved stealing the identities of hundreds of victims, primarily nursing home residents, which were used to seek more than $15 million in fraudulent federal tax refunds.
Moses Ndubai, 34, and Karingithi Gotonga Kamau, age unknown, both of whom are citizens of Kenya, and Michael Anderson, 50, all of Kansas City, Mo., have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to defraud the United States by impairing the collection of tax revenue. They also each pleaded guilty to wire fraud and aiding and abetting wire fraud.
Conspirators, most of whom are citizens of Kenya, stole identity information (including Social Security numbers), predominantly from elderly nursing home patients, and used it to file more than 350 fraudulent federal tax returns from February 2005 to July 2007. Conspirators filed up to six state tax returns with each federal return, causing a loss to at least 27 different states. Most of the tax returns were filed online from wireless Internet “hot spots” in order to conceal who was filing the fraudulent returns.
In total, conspirators claimed over $15 million in tax refunds in the names of identity theft victims, and they actually received at least $2.3 million in fraudulent refunds.
Conspirators caused numerous bank accounts in Kansas City and elsewhere to be opened specifically for the purpose of receiving electronic fund transfers of tax refund payments. Ndubai, Kamau, Anderson and Willingham were among those who were recruited to open bank accounts and to withdraw the refunds once they were deposited into the bank accounts. Often, in order to make the accounts look more legitimate to the banks, they registered fictitious businesses with the state of Missouri. In exchange for withdrawing the money and providing the bulk of it to the top conspirators, these “runners” were usually paid a flat fee.
Some of the money obtained by the conspiracy was wired to banks in Kenya, where refund money was sometimes withdrawn directly from accounts through automated teller machine (ATM) withdrawals occurring in Kenya.
Eight co-defendants have pleaded guilty to the charges contained in a July 18, 2007, federal indictment.
Vincent Niagwara Ogega, 24, a citizen of Kenya residing in Independence, Mo., pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Aug. 7, 2008, to 12.5 months of incarceration and ordered to pay $69,300 in restitution. Co-defendants Loretta Wavinya, 31, and Lillian Nzongi, 27, both citizens of Kenya residing in Kansas City, and Jeanette Alexander, 40, and Rashira Lewis, 21, both of Kansas City, have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
Under federal statutes, Ndubai, Kamau, Anderson and Willingham each could be subject to a sentence of up to 25 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $500,000 and an order of restitution. Sentencing hearings will be scheduled after the completion of presentence investigations by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel M. Nelson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Curt Bohling. It was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, IRS-Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Secret Service.
This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, is available on-line at