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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Grand Jury Returns Indictment In International Identify Theft And Tax Refund Fraud Scheme

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge announced today that a grand jury in the Western District of Michigan has returned a 22-count indictment charging Oghenevwakpo Igboba and Charles Aghogho Ejinyere with using hundreds of other people’s personally identifying information to access their tax information using an IRS website. Igboba and Ejinyere are alleged to have used that sensitive personal and tax information to file false federal income tax returns directing the IRS to pay fraudulent refunds to bank accounts they controlled.

          Igboba was arrested in Lansing, Michigan on February 9, 2017. Ejinyere was arrested earlier today in London, England, and the United States will seek his extradition. The men are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, wire fraud, making false and fraudulent claims to the government, and aggravated identity theft.

          The case is being investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and IRS - Criminal Investigation. "It is the mission of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to protect the integrity of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and promote the fair administration of our federal tax system," said J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. "TIGTA continues to work closely with the United States Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners to hold individuals responsible for their illegal use of legitimate information provided to the IRS by taxpayers."

          Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel, IRS - Criminal Investigation, stated, "Tax-related identity theft remains a high priority for the IRS. The IRS is combatting tax-related identity theft with an aggressive strategy of prevention, detection and victim assistance. We are committed to assisting victims in resolving their tax-related issues as quickly as possible. Victims can obtain more information at www.IRS.gov."

          The charges in an indictment are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

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Updated February 21, 2017