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Press Release

Nigerian National Sentenced To More Than Six Years In Federal Prison For International Tax Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, Florida – U.S. District Judge Charlene E. Honeywell has sentenced Allen Levinson, formerly known as Allen Ameh, to six years and six months in federal prison for wire fraud conspiracy related to his orchestration of a large-scale international tax fraud scheme. Levinson, a resident of Nigeria, was arrested on December 2, 2020, while attempting to enter the United Kingdom. He was extradited to the United States and pleaded guilty upon his arrival on February 3, 2022.

According to court documents, Levinson was the leader of a scheme that attempted to defraud the United States government of more than $63 million through the filing of false and fraudulent tax returns in the names of hundreds of identity theft victims. The scheme operated from summer 2014 through 2019. Out of the $63 million claimed in tax refunds, the IRS paid over $5.5 million, the majority of which went to Levinson.

Levinson recruited coconspirators T’Andre McNeely, Brandon Williams, Michael Carr, and others—through job placement ads and word of mouth—to collect the proceeds of the tax fraud and send it to Levinson.

Levinson used sophisticated cyber means to obtain the personal data used to file the returns. He also hired other foreign nationals—including individuals located in a boiler room in Vietnam—to prepare and file the returns quickly and in large batches. The returns were filed from real certified accounting firms across the United States, all of whom had been hacked by third parties and often had their information sold on darkweb marketplaces, including a website formerly known as the xDedic Marketplace. The xDedic Marketplace was a website that operated for years and was used to sell access to compromised computers worldwide and personally identifiable information of U.S. residents.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle previously sentenced three of Levinson’s money laundering affiliates in a related indictment. McNeely and Carr were each sentenced to six years and six months’ imprisonment. Williams was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

“For too long, Levinson, and cyber criminals like him worldwide believed using darknet marketplaces and cryptocurrencies give them anonymity from law enforcement. Today’s significant sentencing makes it clear that IRS-CI special agents and our partners have the sophisticated tools to remove the so-called cloak of anonymity to bring these fraudsters to justice,” said IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Ronald A. Loecker. 

“The FBI and its law enforcement partners will never cease in their efforts to protect the American people by exposing cyber schemes and bringing the fraudsters, no matter where they try and hide, to justice,” said FBI Tampa Division Special Agent in Charge David Walker.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation’s Tampa and Oakland Field Offices, and the FBI Tampa Field Office. Special assistance was provided by the IRS - CI Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles Field Offices, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Tampa Field Office. Substantial assistance was also provided by the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Rachel Jones.

Updated December 5, 2022

Topics
Tax
Financial Fraud