Nigerian National Sentenced to Federal Prison for Collecting Millions of Dollars in a Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF) Scheme
In Austin today, 32-year-old Adefemi Olokodana (aka “Coker Akosua Paul”), a Nigerian national residing in Austin, was sentenced to six years in federal prison for his role in a scheme to collect millions of dollars in tax refunds using stolen identification information announced United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr. and Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Special Agent in Charge William Cotter.
In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel ordered that Olokodana pay approximately $4.3 million restitution and be placed on supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.
Stolen Identity Refund Fraud or "SIRF" is a category of schemes that victimize both the United States Treasury and individual taxpayers. Under such schemes, perpetrators file false income tax returns using the identities of actual taxpayers, including the taxpayers' true personal identifiers such as Social Security numbers, addresses, and employers. The identities are stolen, and the taxpayers are unaware of the returns. The returns claim refunds, and the perpetrators arrange for the IRS to pay the fraudulent refunds to them, rather than to the owners of the stolen identities. Perpetrators of such schemes often file the false returns and receive the fraudulent refunds electronically, through intermediaries, and using false identities.
On January 22, 2016, Olokodana pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. By pleading guilty, Olokodana admitted that from January 2010 until May 2015, he used stolen personal identification information to file hundreds of fraudulent tax returns. Olokodana collected millions of dollars in refunds based on those fraudulent tax returns.
In May 2015, authorities with the Department of Homeland Security apprehended Olokodana in Laredo, TX, as he attempted to cross the border into Mexico using a counterfeit Ghanaian passport in the name of Coker Akosua Paul to avoid prosecution. He has remained in federal custody since his arrest.
“Today's sentencing of Adefemi Olokodana for running a stolen identity refund fraud scheme is another triumph for the American taxpayer, and another defeat for identity thieves,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation San Antonio Field Office Special Agent in Charge William Cotter. “When Adefemi Olokodana made the mistake of making a run for the border to escape American justice, he sealed his fate. IRS-CI special agents are relentless in our pursuit of those who attempt to steal from the U.S. Treasury.”
This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). Assistant United States Attorneys Alan Buie and Matt Harding prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.