Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MAHAMADOU DAFFE, a tax preparer in Queens, New York, was sentenced today in Manhattan federal court to 102 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to steal government funds, theft of government funds, conspiracy to file false claims, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection with the preparation and filing of nearly 1,000 false income tax returns submitted online using stolen identities. DAFFE was also sentenced today in connection with his participation in a conspiracy to steal government funds, theft of government funds, and conspiracy to file false claims in connection with his use of stolen children’s identities to claim false dependents on his clients’ income tax returns. DAFFE was found guilty in January 2014 after a one-week trial before U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “Tax preparer Mahamadou Daffe orchestrated schemes to file false returns on behalf of his clients and used stolen identities to deceive the IRS, all for his own unjust enrichment. His unscrupulous practices and flagrant violation of the law have now been justly punished.”
According to the Indictment, as well as evidence presented at DAFFE’s trial:
From 2008 through January 2013, DAFFE engaged in two separate schemes to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”). DAFFE filed false tax returns for his tax preparation clients, in which he caused those clients to claim as dependents children who were in fact total strangers to them, and whose identities DAFFE stole. In exchange, DAFFE collected $1,000 per return.
In another scheme, during the same time frame, DAFFE used stolen identities to file hundreds of false tax returns, supported by bogus Forms W-2, through an online tax preparation service intended for use by individual taxpayers. He then funneled the resulting refunds into numerous bank accounts he controlled—accounts in his own name, the names of co-conspirators, and the names of aliases DAFFE and his co-conspirators used. DAFFE’s crimes resulted in a loss to the IRS of more than $1.5 million, during which he attempted to steal more than $4.5 million from the Government.
In addition to the prison term DAFFE, 31, of Queens, New York, was also sentenced to three years of supervised release.
Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and thanked the IRS for its assistance.
This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Section. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carolina A. Fornos and Sarah E. McCallum are in charge of the prosecution.