Essex County, N.J., Man Indicted For Using Stolen Identities To Obtain Tax Refund Checks
NEWARK, N.J. – An Essex County, N.J., man was indicted today by a federal grand jury for using stolen identities to file false tax returns and obtain more than $1 million in tax refund checks, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Hakeem Awe, 39, of Irvington, N.J., was previously arrested on a Complaint. He was indicted today on one count of mail fraud, one count of filing false claims to the United States government, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Awe acquired the names, Social Security numbers, and other personally identifying information from identity theft victims, and then used this information to commit a three-part scheme: (1) Awe filed false tax returns, using fictitious financial information to make it appear that the filer was entitled to a tax refund; (2) Awe listed the filer’s address as one of several post office boxes that he controlled in and around New Jersey; (3) Awe received the checks at his post office boxes and then deposited them into bank accounts that he controlled.
On the mail fraud count, Awe faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a fine that is $250,000 or double the total loss or gain, whichever is greatest.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of the IRS-Criminal Investigation under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Shantelle P. Kitchen in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s indictment.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew J. Bruck of the General Crimes Unit and Jacques S. Pierre of the Special Prosecutions Division, both of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
Defense counsel: Timothy R. Anderson Esq., Red Bank, N.J.