Second Nurses Aide Sentenced for Conspiracy to Defraud the Government
NORFOLK, Va. – Festus Ighalo, 37, of Virginia Beach, Virginia, was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the government.
Dana J. Boente, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Thomas J. Kelly, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI); and Trevor Nelson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Arenda Wright Allen.
Ighalo pleaded guilty on October 8, 2013. According to court documents, Ighalo and his codefendant Emmanuel Effiong, both originally from Nigeria and now naturalized U.S. citizens, were formerly nurses aides at Sentara’s Virginia General Hospital in Virginia Beach. They used their positions there to obtain Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as dates of birth and social security numbers, from thousands of patients mostly located in the Tidewater area. Then, with the help of others located elsewhere in the U.S. and Nigeria, that information was used to submit fraudulent federal tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service and receive tax refunds in the patients’ names. Effiong was sentenced to 81 months for conspiracy and aggravated identity theft on January 10, 2014.
This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA). Assistant United States Attorney Elizabeth M. Yusi prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.justice.gov/usao/vae. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia at http://www.vaed.uscourts.gov or on https://pcl.uscourts.gov.