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Press Release

Man Charged In Massive Tax Scheme That Stole The Identities Of Over 10,000 Victims, Sought Over $10 Million In Fraudulent Refunds

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

NEWARK, N.J. – A resident of Nigeria was indicted today for participating in a sophisticated business email scheme that sought millions of dollars from the U.S. Treasury and a separate conspiracy to possess counterfeit and unauthorized credit cards, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.

Alade Qudus Badmus, 29, of Lagos, Nigeria, is charged with one count of wire fraud conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud, five counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. He is currently at large.

According to documents filed in this case:

Badmus and his conspirators engaged in a business email compromise scheme in which they “spoofed,” or altered, the email header information of high-ranking corporate officers of numerous victim corporations, including Fortune 500, multinational, and publicly traded companies. Badmus and others then sent phishing emails with the spoofed headers to employees of the victim companies requesting W-2 forms containing the names, addresses, social security numbers, and other personally-identifying information (PII) of thousands of employees.

Tricked into thinking that the emails were legitimate, the victim company employees responded to the emails and sent the W-2 forms to Badmus and other conspirators. In total, Badmus and others obtained the PII of more than 10,000 employees.

Badmus and others used stolen PII to file thousands of fraudulent tax returns. To further facilitate the conspiracy, Badmus and others accessed the IRS’s “Get Transcript” system to obtain additional information on certain individuals. In total, Badmus and others sought more than $10.2 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

In addition, Badus also engaged in a separate conspiracy to possess with intent to defraud dozens of fraudulently-obtained credit cards, along with the PII for dozens of other individual victims.

Badmus faces a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud conspiracy and wire fraud charges, 10 years in prison for the conspiracy to commit access device fraud charge, and 24-month consecutive sentences on each of the aggravated identity theft counts.

Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen in Newark, and the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, with the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Osmar Benvenuto of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

The charges and allegations contained in the indictment are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated September 18, 2017