West Mifflin Man Charged In Fraud Scheme
PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Acting United States Attorney Robert S. Cessar announced today, March 30, 2010, that Eric Sinyangwe of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of False Claims Against the United States, Wire Fraud, and Aggravated Identity Theft.
The 28‑count indictment, returned on March 25, 2010, and unsealed yesterday following his arrest, named Sinyangwe, age 37, as the sole defendant.
According to the indictment, in 2008, Sinyangwe, using the business name of "Oubani Taxes," unlawfully obtained names and Social Security numbers of real persons, and then filed electronic 1040 tax returns for those persons in which he sought tax refunds, as well as refund anticipation loans, without the taxpayers' knowledge. The indictment alleges that Sinyangwe then deposited the refund anticipation loan checks into his own bank account.
Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci, who presented the case to the grand jury, indicated that the law provides for a maximum total sentence of 201 years in prison, a fine of $7,500,000, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.
Criminal Investigators from the Internal Revenue Service, along with Inspectors from the United States Postal Inspection Service, conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the government must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.