Rush City Woman Sentenced to Prison for Role in $1.8 Million Scheme Involving Romance Fraud and Federal Pandemic Programs
United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the unsealing of three separate indictments against OLUFEMI OLUWASEUN BANJO, a/k/a “Femi Banjo,” 37, FRANCIS NWABUEZE IWUOHA, 38, and OLUWADAMILARE GBENGA MACAULAY, 32, charging them with wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy. The defendants are at large and believed to be in Nigeria.
According to the allegations in the indictments, from approximately March 2016, through approximately February 2018, BANJO, IWUOHA, and MACAULAY, all citizens of Nigeria, gained unauthorized access to internet accounts of thousands of individual victims to steal Personal Identifying Information (PII) and IRS W-2 Forms, which they used to file false tax returns in the names of the individual victims seeking fraudulent refunds.
As part of the scheme, BANJO, IWUOHA, MACAULAY, and others gained unauthorized access to approximately 1,200 individuals’ accounts maintained by a Minnesota-based company that provides human resource and payroll services to numerous businesses. The accounts were registered with a web-based program that allowed employees to download a copy of their IRS Form W-2 from an internet portal. After fraudulently obtaining PII and tax information from the accounts, BANJO, IWUOHA, MACAULAY, and others used the information to prepare and electronically file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS.
As part of the scheme, BANJO, IWUOHA, MACAULAY, and others also gained unauthorized access to individuals’ accounts maintained by the Department of Education by exploiting an online tool that facilitates the transfer of individuals’ PII and tax information from the IRS website to the Department of Education. The defendants used the stolen information to prepare and electronically file fraudulent tax returns with the IRS. As a result of the scheme, BANJO, IWUOHA, MACAULAY, and others attempted to claim a total of approximately $16.4 million in fraudulent tax refunds.
These cases are the result of an investigation conducted by the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Inspector General, and the FBI.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie E. Allyn and Angela M. Munoz are prosecuting the cases.
OLUFEMI OLUWASEUN BANJO, a/k/a “Femi Banjo,” 37
FRANCIS NWABUEZE IWUOHA, 38
OLUWADAMILARE GBENGA MACAULAY, 32
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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600
The charges contained in the indictments are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.