Skip to main content
Press Release

San Fernando Valley Brothers Arrested in Stolen Refund Check Scheme that Allegedly Involved International Money Laundering

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

          LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities have arrested two brothers from Woodland Hills who are charged in a stolen tax refund check scheme involving hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulently obtained federal income tax refunds, some of which were then laundered through bank accounts held in the United Kingdom.

          Victor A. Ohiri, 50, and Stephen O. Danielson-Ohiri, 49, were arrested late Tuesday pursuant to a 13-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on January 29 that charges them with conspiracy, theft of government property, and international money laundering.

          The Ohiri brothers were arraigned on the indictment Wednesday afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. Both defendants pleaded not guilty and were ordered to stand trial on April 23.

          The indictment alleges that between March 2014 and March 2015, Victor and Stephen Ohiri, together with two unidentified co-conspirators, conspired to use bank accounts to launder hundreds of thousands of fraudulently obtained federal income tax refunds. During the course of the conspiracy, at least $294,000 in federal income tax refunds was deposited into accounts controlled by the Ohiris.

          According to the indictment, the unidentified co-conspirators filed fraudulent federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service in the names of taxpayers who were identity theft victims. The co-conspirators used fake documents, such as bogus Forms W-2, and information from the Ohiris’ bank accounts to file the fraudulent returns, which sought large tax refunds, often between $8,000 and $10,000.

          Based on the false and fraudulent returns, the IRS issued tax refunds, which were electronically transmitted not to the named taxpayers, but instead to the bank accounts controlled by Victor and Stephen Ohiri, and others. Victor and Stephen Ohiri then withdrew the funds and/or transferred the funds to other bank accounts. In relation to most of the tax refunds, the majority of the funds were wired overseas to the unidentified co-conspirators in the United Kingdom.

          During the investigation, IRS investigators seized approximately $181,000 in 2014 from two of Stephen Ohiri’s bank accounts – money that came from just one fraudulently obtained tax return. 

          An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.  Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

          If the Ohiris were to be convicted of the charges alleged in the indictment, each defendant would face a statutory maximum sentence of 145 years in federal prison.

          During Wednesday’s arraignment, a United States Magistrate Judge ordered Victor Ohiri detained without bond pending trial, while Stephen Ohiri was ordered released on a $75,000 bond.

          The case against the Ohiris is part of an ongoing investigation being conducted by IRS Criminal Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

          This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kristen A. Williams of the Major Frauds Section.


Thom Mrozek
Spokesperson/Public Affairs Officer
United States Attorney’s Office
Central District of California (Los Angeles)
(213) 894-6947

Updated February 28, 2019

Press Release Number: 19-033