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Justice News

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

Monday, November 17, 2014

Essex County, N.J., Man Sentenced To 57 Months In Prison For Using Stolen Identities To Obtain Tax Refund Checks

NEWARK, N.J. – An Irvington, New Jersey, man was sentenced today to 57 months in prison for using stolen identities to file false tax returns and obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax refund checks, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Hakeem Awe, 40, of Irvington, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose L. Linares to two counts of an indictment charging him with mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Judge Linares imposed the sentence today in Newark federal court.

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

Awe used stolen names, Social Security numbers, and other personally identifying information to file false tax returns, using fictitious financial information to make it appear that the filer was entitled to a tax refund. Awe also listed the filer’s address as one of several post office boxes that he controlled in and around New Jersey. He received the checks at his post office boxes and then deposited them into bank accounts that he controlled.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Linares sentenced Awe to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $1,242,047.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen in Newark, and inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge Maria L. Kelokates, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew J. Bruck of the Organized Crime/Gang 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.

Updated March 18, 2015