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Department of Justice
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Nevada Fraudster Pleads Guilty to Role in Scheme to File False Tax Returns Using Stolen Identities

Had More Than 200 Stolen Identities in His Backpack

A Las Vegas resident pleaded guilty today to aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, theft of government property, and access device fraud, relating to a stolen identity tax fraud, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich for the District of Nevada.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Josiah Ntekume was involved in a scheme to file false tax returns using stolen identities in order to obtain tax refunds. Coconspirators provided Ntekume with names, addresses, dates of birth, and social security numbers, and Ntekume used these stolen identities to establish prepaid debit card accounts. The coconspirators then caused fraudulently obtained federal tax refunds to be deposited into those accounts.

When Ntekume was arrested on March 13, 2012, he had in his backpack approximately 250 prepaid debit cards in others people’s names on which more than more than $200,000 in fraudulent tax refunds had been loaded. The backpack also contained several pages of paper listing stolen identities for nearly 200 individuals that were used either to file false tax returns or to establish additional prepaid debit cards. 

Sentencing is scheduled for March 4, 2020. At sentencing, Ntekume faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison on the wire fraud count, as well as up to ten years in prison on each count of theft of government property and fraud in connection with access devices. He also faces a mandatory minimum of two years for aggravated identity theft. In addition to a prison sentence, Ntekume faces a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Trutanich thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Thomas W. Flynn, Stephen K. Moulton, and Arthur Ewenczyk who are prosecuting the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Tax
Press Release Number: 
19-1342
Updated December 4, 2019