Roommates Sentenced on Conspiracy Convictions Stemming from a Tax Refund Fraud Scheme
DALLAS — A local man was sentenced yesterday afternoon, by U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle, to 45 months in federal prison and ordered to pay approximately $52,000 in restitution on a conspiracy conviction stemming from his role in a tax refund fraud scheme, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Elijah Meskano pleaded guilty in May 2013 to a superseding information charging one count of conspiracy to commit theft of public funds. Following the hearing yesterday, Judge Boyle remanded him into the custody of the U.S. Marshal.
According to a complaint filed in Meskano’s case, he and Cephas Msipa were roommates in Plano, Texas. Msipa, who has been in federal custody since his arrest on an indictment in November 2012, pleaded guilty to the same offense and was sentenced in February 2014 to 46 months in federal prison and ordered to pay more than $118,000 in restitution. The Court stated during his sentencing hearing that Msipa will be deported to Zimbabwe after he serves his prison sentence.
According to the factual resume filed in Msipa’s case, Msipa admitted that from January 5, 2012, until June 2012, he was involved in a conspiracy to obtain tax refunds generated through the submission of fraudulent tax returns. For his part in the conspiracy, Msipa used a false name to open bank accounts in order to receive the refunds from the fraudulently filed tax returns.
Msipa used a forged United Kingdom passport to establish a private mailbox at a postal store on Preston Road in Dallas. Thereafter, according to the factual resume, Msipa used this false name, and the address of the mailbox, to open three accounts at Bank of America and two accounts at Chase Bank.
Meskano, according to the factual resume filed in his case, from December 22, 2011 through November 29, 2012, also opened bank accounts using a false name to receive refunds from fraudulently filed tax returns.
According to the factual resume filed in Meskano’s case, from January through November 2012, the co-conspirators electronically filed 192 fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities and false income information that directed the IRS to deposit refunds into one of six bank accounts Meskano opened.
IRS Criminal Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Stokes prosecuted.
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