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Press Release

New York Tax Return Preparer Found Guilty of Tax Crimes in Stolen Identity Refund Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Springfield Gardens, New York, resident was convicted yesterday by a federal jury for conspiring to commit aggravated identity theft and for two counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Afolabi Ajelero, the owner of Mo-Betta Ventures Inc., a tax preparation business located in Springfield Gardens, New York, conspired with others to possess and use without lawful authority one or more means of identification of another person. He also filed false corporate income tax returns for the 2014 and 2015 tax years for his business.

Ajelero was acquitted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft counts.

Ajelero faces a maximum sentence of five years for the conspiracy conviction and a maximum sentence of three years in prison for each count of aiding or assisting in the preparation of false returns. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and monetary penalties.

On Feb. 15, 2019, co-defendant Hakeem Bamgbala pleaded guilty to 18 counts of wire fraud, 22 counts of aggravated identity theft, one count of conspiring to commit aggravated identity theft, and one count of aiding and assisting the filing of a false tax return. On July 31, 2018, co-defendant Michael Campbell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated identity theft. A sentencing date has not been set for Bamgbala and Campbell.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Mark McDonald and Eric Powers of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

Updated March 5, 2019

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 19-188