St. Louis Resident Sentenced to Prison for Role in a Stolen Identity Fraud Scheme That Claimed $12 Million in Tax Refunds
Stole Public School Employees’ Identities to File Fraudulent Tax Returns
A St. Louis resident was sentenced to 48 months in prison today for his role in a tax 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.
According to documents and information provided to the Court, Babatunde Olusegun Taiwo, co-conspirator Kevin Williams and others, engaged in a scheme to file false tax returns in the names of individuals whose personal identifying information they obtained without authorization. In particular, Taiwo, Williams, and others accessed from a data breach at a payroll company the information of hundreds of individuals, including school district employees in Alabama and Mississippi. The co-conspirators then used the information to file false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They sought to conceal their fraud by filing the tax returns under electronic filing identification numbers that the IRS issued to tax return preparation businesses that they obtained without authorization. The conspirators directed that the claimed refunds be mailed to their residences in St. Louis. In total, Taiwo and his co-conspirators filed more than 2,000 fraudulent tax returns that claimed more than $12 million in refunds, of which the IRS paid out $889,712.
“The Department remains committed to prosecuting those who use stolen identities to steal money from the United States by filing false tax returns and claiming fraudulent tax refunds,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman. “As today’s sentence makes clear, there is a heavy price to pay for such criminal conduct.”
“Today’s sentencing of Babtunde Taiwo highlights how seriously IRS Criminal Investigation and our law enforcement partners take the issue of identity theft,” said Thomas Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. “We will continue to pursue criminals who prey on innocent victims and we will continue to enforce our nation’s tax laws. Today’s sentencings should send a clear message to would-be criminals — you will be caught and you will be punished.”
In addition to the term of imprisonment, Senior U.S. District Judge Catherine D. Perry ordered Taiwo to serve a term of three years of supervised release and to pay restitution to the United States in the amount of $889,712.
Co-conspirator Williams was previously sentenced to 78 months in prison for his role in this scheme as well as voter fraud and re-entering the United States after having been removed.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Jensen commended special agents of IRS-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 the 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 the Middle District of Alabama.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.