Chicago Man Pleads Guilty to Fraud Conspiracy; False Tax Returns Filed for Refunds
PEORIA, Ill., -- A Chicago man, Gbadebo Adebiyi, 41, of Chicago, pled guilty today to his role in a fraud scheme that used others’ personal information to file false tax returns for refunds. Adebiyi appeared this morning before U.S. District Judge Joe Billy McDade. A co-defendant, Idris Akande, 35, also of Chicago, remains a fugitive. Sentencing for Adebiyi is scheduled on May 3, 2017.
According to court documents, in March 2015, Bradley University reported a data breach that resulted in employees having their personal identifying information used to file false 2014 federal income tax returns. Adebiyi admitted to conspiring with others to obtain refunds obtained from the false income tax returns.
The false tax returns typically directed that refunds be routed to third-party prepaid debit cards, Green Dot cards, which were purchased at various retail locations. The personal information of Bradley employees was used to create permanent Green Card accounts. Conspirators used the Green Dot cards, loaded with the fraudulent tax refunds, to purchase money orders. The money orders were then cashed at currency exchange businesses in the Chicago area. As a result of the fraud, the government estimates that the conspiracy’s intended loss is approximately $770,000.
Adebiyi pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, an offense that carries a maximum statutory penalty of five years in prison. The defendant may also be ordered to pay restitution. The maximum statutory penalty is prescribed by Congress and is provided for informational purposes as sentencing is determined by the court based on the advisory Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Supervisory Assistant U.S. Attorney Darilynn J. Knauss is prosecuting the case.