Benin Man Sentenced to Prison for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud
A Republic of Benin man unlawfully residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was sentenced today to 48 months in prison, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Louis D. Lappen for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Abdou Koudos Adissa was convicted on March 31 of conspiring to commit access device fraud following a jury trial in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, from February through June 2014, Adissa was engaged in a conspiracy in which stolen identities were used to file tax returns claiming refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Co-conspirators filed fraudulent tax returns seeking more than $800,000 in refunds, which were loaded onto Green Dot prepaid debit cards and sent via Western Union to Nigeria. During a search of the apartment Adissa shared with a co-conspirator, special agents found 106 Green Dot cards in Adissa’s room. Adissa registered the Green Dot cards using stolen IDs and provided his co-conspirators with the direct deposit information related to the cards so that fraudulently obtained refunds could be directed to them. According to the evidence produced at trial, he called Western Union 63 times in three months to facilitate transferring these fraudulent refunds to Nigeria.
In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Court Judge Gene E. K. Pratter ordered Adissa to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $252,840 in restitution to IRS. Adissa is pending immigration removal proceedings.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Lappen commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Ignall and Trial Attorney Carl F. Brooker, IV of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.