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Press Release

Bergen County Man Sentenced To Six Years In Prison For Using Personal Information Stolen From U.S. Service Members To File Phony Tax Returns

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. – A Fort Lee, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 72 months in prison for 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, 35, previously pleaded guilty before Chief U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson to an indictment charging him with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Chief Judge Wolfson imposed the sentence today in Trenton federal court.

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

From January through February 2016, Oluwo conspired with others, including Dermot Sutherland, 30, 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.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Wolfson sentenced Oluwo to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $11,170 in restitution.

Sutherland previously pleaded guilty to his role and was sentenced in February 2019 to three years of probation.

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 Inspector in Charge James Buthorn; and special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Catherine R. Murphy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit.

Defense counsel: Patrick Brackley Esq., New York

Updated February 21, 2020

Identity Theft
Press Release Number: 20-076