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Justice News

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Queens, New York Woman Convicted for Her Role in $60 Million Wire Fraud Conspiracy

Erie, PA -After deliberating for little more than an hour, a federal jury has found Bola Peters guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

Peters, 44, of Queens, New York, was tried before United States District Judge David S. Cercone in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

According to Assistant United States Attorney Christian A. Trabold, who prosecuted the case, the evidence presented at trial established that Peters maintained multiple bank accounts which were used as repositories for fraudulently obtained federal tax refunds. After the fraudulently obtained refunds were deposited into accounts under her control, Peters would remove the funds, keep a portion for herself and remit the remainder of the refunds back to her co-conspirators. Evidence presented at trial showed that Peters was in possession of numerous false identification documents. These documents matched the stolen identities listed on the fraudulent federal tax returns that generated the tax refunds deposited into the accounts Peters controlled. Other stolen identity documents found in Peters’ house matched the names on bank accounts Peters opened using stolen identities. Peters was also in possession of handwritten ledgers and lists containing hundreds of stolen identities which were used during the course of the conspiracy to file false federal tax returns.

Judge Cercone scheduled sentencing for March 3, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. The law provides for a total sentence of 20 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of loss to the victims, or both. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed is based on the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Pending sentencing, the court revoked Peters’ bond.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation conducted the investigation that led to the prosecution of Peters.

Updated October 24, 2016