Nigerian National Admits Role in Phishing Scheme that Victimized Glastonbury School Employees
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that DANIEL ADEKUNLE OJO, 34, a citizen of Nigeria residing in Durham, N.C., pleaded guilty yesterday in New Haven federal court to fraud and identity theft offenses stemming from a scheme to obtain the personal identifying information of school employees in Connecticut and elsewhere, and to file false tax returns in the names of those identity theft victims.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in February 2017, an employee of the Glastonbury Public Schools received an email that appeared to be sent by another Glastonbury school system employee. The email contained a request to send W-2 tax information for all employees of the school system. The recipient of the email responded by sending copies of the W-2 information for approximately 1,600 Glastonbury Public Schools employees. After the W-2 information was emailed, approximately 122 suspicious Forms 1040 were filed electronically with the IRS in the names of victims of the Glastonbury phishing scheme. The 122 tax returns claimed tax refunds totaling $596,897. Approximately six of the returns were processed, and $36,926 in fraudulently-obtained funds were electronically deposited into various bank accounts.
OJO controlled or used an aol.com email account and a gmail.com email account involved in this phishing scheme. A search of OJO’s gmail account revealed emails implicating him in the scheme. One email contained six W-2 forms of employees of Glastonbury Public Schools, and the employees’ personal identifying information.
This ongoing investigation by special agents from the FBI’s cybercrime squad in New Haven and the IRS includes phishing incidents that victimized the Groton Public Schools, and the Bloomington Independent School District in Bloomington, Minnesota.
OJO pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, and one count of aggravated identity theft, an offense that carries a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of at least two years. Judge Meyer scheduled sentencing for September 13, 2018.
OJO has been detained since his arrest on August 3, 2017. The investigation revealed that OJO entered the U.S. on a visitor’s visa in May 23, 2016, and failed to depart on his scheduled departure date of June 8, 2016.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division, with the assistance of the Durham (N.C.) Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarala V. Nagala.