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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Jersey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, July 20, 2018

Bergen County Man Admits Using Personal Information Stolen From U.S. Service Members To File Phony Tax Returns

TRENTON, N.J. – A Fort Lee, New Jersey, man today admitted generating phony tax refunds using personal identifying information stolen from current and former members of the U.S. army, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Shope Oluwo, 33, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to an indictment charging him with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From January through February 2016, Oluwo conspired with others, including Dermot Sutherland, 29, of Philadelphia, to obtain personal identifying information that was stolen from current or former members of the U.S. Army. Oluwo used that stolen information to create fake military identification cards and fraudulent W-2 forms bearing the victims’ names.

Oluwo provided the phony cards and W-2 forms to Sutherland, who posed as the victims and filed phony returns with a tax preparation company. Afterwards, Sutherland received debit cards from the tax preparation company that contained the ill-gotten refunds.

The conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The access device fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a term of imprisonment of two years which must run consecutively to any other prison term. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 26, 2018.

Sutherland previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and awaits sentencing.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Leigh-Alistair Barzey; postal inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Acting Inspector in Charge Judy Ramos; and special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Bryant Jackson in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine R. Murphy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime and Gangs Unit.

Defense counsel: Patrick Brackley Esq., New York

Topic(s): 
Tax
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
18-249
Updated July 20, 2018