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Press Release

Final Texas Defendants Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail and Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Scheme Sought Over $110M in Fraudulent Refunds

A Texas man pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, and a Texas women pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud both in connection with a wide-ranging scheme to defraud the IRS. In all, seven defendants have now pleaded guilty to this scheme that sought over $111 million in fraudulent tax refunds. 

According to court documents, from 2018 to 2021, Abraham Yusuff, of Round Rock, led a stolen-identity-refund-fraud scheme by knowingly conspiring with Meghan Inyang, of San Antonio, Christopher Eduardo, of Round Rock, Christian Mathurin, of Nashville, Tennessee, Dillon Anozie, of San Antonio, Babajide Ogunbanjo, of Austin, and Aydin Mammadov, of Houston.

As part of the scheme, Yusuff recruited and directed the co-conspirators to provide addresses for the purpose of receiving mail, including IRS correspondence such as identity verification letters. Yusuff and others then registered with the IRS, posing as authorized agents of multiple taxpayers. They used stolen information relating to the taxpayers and their real tax preparers to falsely persuade the IRS they were legitimate representatives. The conspirators then directed the IRS to change the addresses on file for the taxpayers and to send their tax information, including account transcripts and wage records, to the addresses and emails the conspirators controlled.

The conspirators used this information to electronically file more than 370 tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds and directed the IRS to split the refunds among several prepaid debit cards. Prior to issuing tax refunds to some taxpayers, the IRS sent verification letters to the addresses controlled by the conspirators, and the conspirators and others, pretending to be the taxpayers, instructed the IRS to release the refunds.

Yusuff and the co-conspirators obtained the prepaid debit cards that were to be used to receive the fraudulently claimed refunds. Once the refunds were deposited onto the prepaid debit cards, the funds were laundered by purchasing, among other things, money orders from local stores in amounts that were designed to avoid having to furnish identification or trigger reporting requirements. Prepaid debit cards and money orders were used to purchase designer clothing, home renovation materials and used cars at auction. The defendants kept or received money orders purchased with the fraudulent refunds as their share of the illegal proceeds.

Yusuff pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Inyang pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. 

Mammadov, Ogunbanjo, Eduardo and Anozie each previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Mathurin pleaded guilty to one count of aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return.  

The defendants each face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Yusuff also faces a mandatory penalty of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, to be served consecutively. Mathurin faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison for aiding and assisting in the filing of a false tax return. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division made the announcement.

IRS Criminal Investigation and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration investigated the case.

Assistant Chief Michael Boteler and Trial Attorneys Mary Frances Richardson and Curtis Weidler of the Tax Division are prosecuting the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas assisted in this matter.

Updated May 30, 2024

Topic
Tax
Component
Press Release Number: 24-683