St. Louis Resident Indicted for Role in a Stolen Identity Fraud Scheme That Claimed $12 Million in Tax Refunds
WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury sitting in St. Louis, Missouri, returned an indictment, which was unsealed yesterday, against a St. Louis resident for his role in a sophisticated stolen identity refund fraud scheme, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey B. Jensen for the Eastern District of Missouri.
The indictment charges Babatunde Olusegun Taiwo with conspiracy to file false claims, mail fraud, wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. To carry out the scheme, Taiwo and others allegedly obtained the payroll information of employees of various public school systems by accessing without authorization a payroll company database. Taiwo and others also allegedly obtained IRS Forms W-2 of various companies through the use of business email schemes. To conceal their involvement, Taiwo and his co-conspirators allegedly obtained and used without authorization several Electronic Filing Identification Numbers issued in the names of tax preparation businesses. As charged in the indictment, Taiwo then arranged for mail forwarding services to be set up in the names of those tax preparers in various cities across the United States, including Reno, Nevada, and Salt Lake City, Utah, and directed mail to be sent to an accomplice’s residence in St. Louis, Missouri.
Taiwo and his co-conspirators allegedly used the school employee payroll information they illegally obtained to file fraudulent tax returns, and computer software to mask the location of where the returns were filed. As charged in the indictment, over 2,000 fraudulent tax returns claiming more than $12 million in tax refunds from the IRS were filed through the scheme.
If convicted, Taiwo faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the conspiracy to file false claims count, 20 years in prison for each count of wire and mail fraud, 15 years for each count of access device fraud, and a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft. The defendant also faces substantial monetary penalties, supervised release, restitution, and forfeiture.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Jensen commended special agents of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Postal Inspection Service as well as the Dothan Alabama Police Department and Alexander City Alabama Police Department, who investigated this case, and Trial Attorneys Michael C. Boteler and Grace Albinson of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting this case with assistance from the United States Attorney’s Offices in the Eastern District of Missouri and Middle District of Alabama.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.