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May 22, 2018

Jamaican Citizen Pleads Guilty for His Role in International Lottery Scheme

On April 11, 2018, in the Northern District of West Virginia, Zicko Peterkin pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud related to his role in an international lottery scheme. [1] Peterkin and his coconspirator were indicted in September 2013, and Peterkin was later arrested in February 2018. [2]

According to the court documents, Peterkin and his coconspirator, who both were residents and citizens of Jamaica, conspired with each other and others to fraudulently obtain money from U.S. citizens through an international lottery scam. [3]

As part of their conspiracy, Peterkin and his coconspirators obtained the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of numerous U.S. citizens and then made unsolicited telephone calls or sent unsolicited e-mail messages to those individuals. In these communications, they falsely informed the victims that they had won a multimillion-dollar lottery prize and a new Mercedes Benz or BMW vehicle. Peterkin and his coconspirators advised the victims that they must pay taxes and processing fees prior to the release of the lottery prizes. [4]

In furtherance of the scheme, fraudulent documentation that purported to be official Government forms was sent to the victims and unlawfully portrayed the names and symbols of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of the Treasury, and the Federal Reserve Board. Some of these fraudulent documents also solicited personal identifying information such as address, e-mail address, phone number, and date of birth. Some victims received e-mail messages and telephone calls from an individual fraudulently impersonating the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, claiming to represent the IRS in facilitating the release and delivery of the lottery prizes. Additionally, Peterkin and his coconspirators e-mailed images of forged multimillion-dollar cashier’s checks to victims, each showing the victim as the payee of the check. [5]

Peterkin could face a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment. [6]

  • [1] N.D. W.Va. Plea Agr. filed Apr. 11, 2018.
  • [2] N.D. W.Va. Crim. Docket as of Apr. 19, 2018.
  • [3] N.D. W.Va. Indict. filed Sep. 4, 2013.
  • [4] Id.
  • [5] Id.
  • [6] N.D. W.Va. Plea Agr. filed Apr. 11, 2018.


  • Three Individuals Indicted for Their Roles in Scheme Involving Stolen Federal Tax Refund Checks

    On March 22, 2018, in the Southern District of New York, Oswaldo Morel-Garden, Gerson Cabrera, and Geuris Rosario were indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and bank fraud. Morel-Garden and Rosario were also charged with aggravated identity theft. [1]

    According to court documents, from at least about December 2016 up to and including about November 2017, the coconspirators knowingly and willfully executed their scheme to defraud numerous financial institutions by opening bank accounts in names other than their own with institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. They subsequently deposited falsely endorsed checks, including altered, fictitious, and stolen U.S. Treasury tax refund checks, into the accounts. They did so with the intent to use false and fraudulent pretenses to obtain funds from the accounts to which they were not entitled. U.S. Department of the Treasury records indicate that several refund checks were not received by victims. One of the checks, which had been deposited by Rosario into a fraudulently opened account, was subsequently reissued by the U.S. Treasury Department. [2]

    While engaged in their fraudulent activity, Morel-Garden and Rosario also knowingly transferred, possessed, and used without lawful authority a means of identification of another person. According to the criminal complaint, it is estimated that the coconspirators opened approximately 29 bank accounts as part of their scheme, into which they deposited approximately $184,461.58 worth of checks that belonged to others. [3]

    If convicted, the coconspirators could face a maximum statutory sentence of 30 years’ imprisonment related to the bank fraud charges and an additional mandatory sentence of two years’ imprisonment related to the aggravated identity-theft charges. They are also ordered to forfeit any and all proceeds fraudulently derived from their offenses. [4] Additional legal actions are anticipated.

    • [1] S.D.N.Y. Indict. filed. Mar. 22, 2018.
    • [2] S.D.N.Y. Crim. Compl. filed Feb. 15, 2018.
    • [3] Id.
    • [4] S.D.N.Y. Indict. filed. Mar. 22, 2018.


    • IRS Supervisor Arrested on Charges of False Statements and Theft of Government Property

      On March 22, 2018, in the Central District of California, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) supervisor Leslie Williams was arrested by agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) on charges of theft of Government property and making a false statement. [1] Williams had been indicted for the offenses on March 21, 2018. [2]

      According to the indictment, at all times relevant to the charges, Williams was employed by the IRS at an office located in Long Beach, California. Beginning on about February 12, 2016, Williams knowingly and willfully embezzled, stole, and converted for her own use Federal funds as the purported surviving spouse of her ex-husband, who had died on about January 22, 2016, and from whom she had been divorced since about November 15, 2013. Specifically, Williams claimed that, as the alleged surviving spouse, she was entitled to receive $25,999.50 in death benefit payments issued by the Office of Personnel Management, as well as $30,000 in retirement plan contributions issued by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

      On about February 14, 2017, when interviewed by TIGTA special agents, Williams allegedly made a materially false statement by continuing to claim she was married to her ex-spouse until his death, when, in fact, Williams knew she had been divorced since about November 15, 2013. [3]

      Williams was released on a $10,000 appearance bond and ordered to surrender her passport. [4] If convicted, Williams could face a maximum statutory sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. Additional legal actions are anticipated. [5]

      • [1] C.D. Cal. Executed Arrest Warrant filed. Mar. 22, 2018.
      • [2] C.D. Cal. Indict. filed Mar. 21, 2018.
      • [3] Id.
      • [4] C.D Cal. Release Order and Bond Form filed Mar. 23, 2018.
      • [5] C.D. Cal. Crim. Docket as of Apr. 4, 2018.


      • Contract IRS Employee Indicted For Theft of Federal Tax Remittances

        On March 21, 2018, in the Western District of North Carolina, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) temporary contract employee Alicia Gambrell was indicted on eight counts of theft of Government funds. [1]

        According to the court documents, from about March 2016 through about April 2017, Gambrell was an employee of a temporary employment agency that had placed her at an IRS lockbox facility, located in Charlotte, North Carolina. [2]

        An IRS lockbox is a facility operated by a federally insured bank that the IRS has contracted for the purpose of, among other things, processing Federal tax remittances. Federal tax remittances are payments made payable to the IRS and/or the U.S. Treasury Department in the form of checks and money orders mailed by taxpayers to designated post office boxes for processing. IRS lockbox facilities hire temporary employees through temporary employment agencies and then screens them to work in the lockbox performing various duties, such as opening incoming mail. [3]

        While working at the IRS lockbox facility in Charlotte, Gambrell stole approximately 34 checks and money orders which had been made payable to the IRS and totaled approximately $57,000. She did so by altering the payee information on the checks and money orders to reflect her own name. For example, she changed “IRS” to “MRS” then inserted “Gambrell.” She then either cashed the stolen and altered checks and money orders or deposited them into accounts in her name. [4]

        If convicted, Gambrell could face a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. Additional legal actions are anticipated.

        • [1] W.D.N.C. filed Mar. 21, 2018.
        • [2] Id.
        • [3] Id.
        • [4] Id.


        • Former IRS Employee Sentenced for Making False Statements and Receiving Fraudulent Reimbursements

          On March 15, 2018, in the Eastern District of Kentucky, former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Jason Helton was sentenced for making false statements and for the theft of Government funds. [1] Helton was initially indicted for the offenses in February 2017 [2] , and was found guilty in a jury trial in August 2017. [3]

          According to the court documents, Helton was an employee of the IRS stationed at its Prestonsburg, Kentucky, office between July 2014 and April 2016. [4] During this period, Helton knowingly and willfully made and submitted false documents to the IRS, knowing that they contained materially false and fictitious statements. Specifically, Helton falsely reported that he performed work that he did not actually perform and that he incurred work-related expenses that, in fact, he did not incur. [5]

          Additionally, Helton knowingly received and retained stolen property of the United States, in that he received salary and expense reimbursements from the IRS to which he was not entitled, with the intent to convert the funds to his own use. [6]

          Helton was sentenced to five months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. He will be required to submit to electronic monitoring and home detention for a period of five months during his supervised release. Helton was also ordered to pay $8,114.75 in restitution to the IRS. [7]

          • [1] E.D. Ky. Judgment filed Mar. 19, 2018.
          • [2] E.D. Ky. Indict. filed Feb. 23, 2017.
          • [3] E.D. Ky. Verdict filed Aug. 17, 2017.
          • [4] E.D. Ky. Response to Motion in Limine filed July 11, 2017.
          • [5] E.D. Ky. Indict. filed Feb. 23, 2017.
          • [6] Id.
          • [7] E.D. Ky. Judgment filed Mar. 19, 2018.


          • April 16, 2018

            South Florida Man Indicted for Theft of Federal Tax Refund Checks

            On March 8, 2018, in the Southern District of Florida, Richard David was indicted for theft of Government money, [1] specifically stolen U.S. Treasury checks that had been issued as tax refunds to other individuals. [2]

            According to the court documents, on or about February 23, 2018, a Confidential Source (CS) reported that David had been selling stolen Treasury checks. Several subsequent telephone calls between David and the CS were conducted and recorded with the consent of the CS. During those conversations, David offered to sell the CS two stolen Federal tax refund checks totaling approximately $5,000, and the CS agreed to purchase the checks from David for approximately half of their face value. The two agreed to meet behind a store located in North Miami Beach, Florida, to complete the transaction. [3]

            On February 26, 2018, David met with the CS as agreed. After producing the stolen Federal tax refund checks, David was arrested by special agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. [4]

            Additional legal action is anticipated. [5] If convicted, David could face a maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment. [6]

            • [1] S.D. Fla. Indict. filed Mar. 8, 2018.
            • [2] S.D. Fla. Crim. Compl. filed Feb. 27, 2018.
            • [3] Id.
            • [4] Id.
            • [5] S.D. Fla. Crim. Docket as of Mar. 14, 2018.
            • [6] S.D. Fla. Indict. filed Mar. 8, 2018.


            • Former IRS Employee Sentenced for Filing False Tax Returns

              On March 5, 2018, in the Eastern District of California, former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Pamela Pringle was sentenced for making opportunities for persons to defraud the United States and for making and subscribing false returns. [1] Pringle was indicted for the offenses in March 2017 [2] and pleaded guilty in November 2017. [3]

              According to the court documents, Pringle was employed from 2000 to 2015 by the IRS in Fresno, California, in various positions, including as a contact representative. As a contact representative, she was responsible for responding to taxpayers’ inquiries regarding tax filings and for making adjustments to taxpayers’ accounts. [4]

              At all times relevant to the charges, Pringle was an IRS employee and created opportunities for individuals to defraud the United States by offering to increase their tax refunds or offset their tax liabilities through the preparation and filing of Federal income tax returns that included false deductions. Pringle also filed fraudulent tax returns for herself by falsely claiming deductions to which she was not entitled. [5]

              Around 2009, the IRS informed Pringle that expenses reported on her tax return related to her photography work were not allowed as a deductible expense, because that work was considered to be a hobby for tax reporting purposes, not an activity engaged in for profit. Despite this, Pringle filed three subsequent tax returns between 2011 and 2013 claiming unauthorized and excessive business expenses related to her photography activities, and received tax deductions and credits to which she was not authorized. Pringle knew at the time that she had not incurred such expenses and was not authorized to claim such expenses. [6] The false information resulted in a total tax loss of approximately $30,000. [7]

              Additionally, according to the indictment, Pringle knowingly made and caused to be filed fraudulent tax returns for five other taxpayers, claiming false expenses such as child care expenses, tax preparation fees, medical expenses, and other Schedule A deductions. Pringle knew these taxpayers did not incur the claimed expenses and were not entitled to deduct them. [8] This false information resulted in a total tax loss of approximately $26,000. [9]

              Pringle was sentenced to five months’ imprisonment followed by 36 months of supervised release, five months of which will be home confinement. Pringle was further ordered to pay $56,857 in restitution. [10]

              • [1] E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Mar. 8, 2018.
              • [2] E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Mar. 30, 2017.
              • [3] E.D. Cal. Crim. Docket as of Mar. 8, 2018.
              • [4] E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Mar. 30, 2017.
              • [5] Id.
              • [6] Id.
              • [7] E.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed Oct. 26, 2017.
              • [8] E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Mar. 30, 2017.
              • [9] E.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed Oct. 26, 2017.
              • [10] E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Mar. 8, 2018.


              • Two Nigerian Citizens Sentenced in Theft Scheme Using Illegally Obtained Tax Information

                On February 12, 2018, in the Northern District of Georgia, Anthony Adewale Oloko was sentenced for the theft of public money and aggravated identity theft. [1] Codefendant Temilola Brown was sentenced on February 13, 2018, for the theft of public money. [2] Oloko and Brown were both indicted in September 2017, [3] and Brown pleaded guilty in October 2017. [4] Oloko pleaded guilty in November 2017. [5]

                According to the court documents, both of the defendants are citizens of Nigeria. Oloko has legal permanent residency in the United States, while Brown is in the United States on a visitor visa. [6] Oloko and Brown, using the identification of others without lawful authority, attempted to steal and convert to their own use, money of the United States in the form of Federal tax refunds, which they were not entitled to receive. [7]

                As indicated in the plea agreements for Oloko and Brown, TIGTA was investigating a group of perpetrators who fraudulently requested tax information through the Federal Student Aid Datashare (FSAD) program using stolen personally identifiable information (PII). The FSAD program allows Federal student aid applicants to import their tax information into the student aid application. By using this program, the perpetrators were able to gain access to tax information and also test the validity of the stolen PII. The perpetrators then used the stolen PII to file fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and direct the tax refunds into fraudulently opened bank accounts. [8]

                Oloko’s role in the offense was to file the fraudulent tax returns using the stolen PII. Between February 2014 and February 2017, he filed 139 fraudulent returns claiming tax refunds totaling $886,895. Of these 139 returns, nine refunds were actually issued for a total of $27,129. Oloko admitted that he filed fraudulent tax returns using victims’ PII that was obtained from another individual. He also admitted that he obtained bank account numbers from Brown and another conspirator and used those accounts to direct the fraudulent refunds. Agents identified Internet chat sessions between Oloko and others exchanging Federal tax documents and instructions on obtaining tax information from the FSAD website. [9]

                Brown’s role in the scheme was to open a fraudulent bank account at Bank of America using a false name and identification. The investigation revealed that there were attempts to direct five fraudulent refunds totaling $37,320 into this specific account. Only one refund of $9,472 was actually deposited into the account, which Brown and others subsequently withdrew. In February 2017, Oloko attempted to direct $136,741 in refunds from 14 fraudulent tax returns into various bank accounts, including the Bank of America account opened by Brown. When interviewed by TIGTA special agents, Brown admitted to opening the Bank of America account using a false name and a fraudulent passport. She also acknowledged that she was aware Oloko was directing fraudulent tax refunds into this account. [10]

                Oloko was sentenced to 51 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. Oloko was further ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $27,129, of which, Brown is jointly and severally liable for $9,472. [11] Brown was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, and shall be remanded to Immigration Customs Enforcement for possible deportation proceedings upon her release. [12]

                • [1] N.D. Ga. Judgment 1:17-CR-330-2-MHC filed Feb. 14, 2018.
                • [2] N.D. Ga. Judgment 1:17-CR-330-1-MHC filed Feb. 14, 2018.
                • [3] N.D. Ga. Indict. filed Sep. 19, 2017.
                • [4] N.D. Ga. Plea Agr. filed Oct. 19, 2017.
                • [5] N.D. Ga. Plea Agr. filed Nov. 1, 2017.
                • [6] N.D. Ga. Order of Detention 1: 17-MJ-536-AJB-2 filed June 30, 2017; N.D. Ga. Order of Detention 1: 17-MJ-536-AJB-1 filed June 30, 2017.
                • [7] N.D. Ga. Indict. filed Sep. 19, 2017.
                • [8] N.D. Ga. Plea Agr. filed Nov. 1, 2017.
                • [9] Id.
                • [10] N.D. Ga. Plea Agr. filed Oct. 19, 2017.
                • [11] N.D. Ga. Judgment 1:17-CR-330-2-MHC filed Feb. 14, 2018.
                • [12] N.D. Ga. Judgment 1:17-CR-330-1-MHC filed Feb. 14, 2018.


                • Man Sentenced for Role in IRS Impersonation Scam and Illegal Entry Into the United States

                  On February 14, 2018, in the Northern District of Georgia, Dipakkumar Sankalchand Patel was sentenced for conspiracy to commit money laundering and false use of a passport. [1] Patel was charged with the offenses in two separate cases filed in May 2017, [2] and August 2017, [3] and pleaded guilty to both charges on August 17, 2017. [4]

                  According to the court documents, Patel, a native and citizen of India, [5] was admitted to the United States in Atlanta, Georgia, on or about March 26, 2012, by presenting a Portuguese Republic passport that was false, forged, and counterfeited as his own identification. [6] Subsequently, from about September 2014 through about June 2015, Patel knowingly and intentionally conspired with others to conduct financial transactions in a scheme that involved the impersonation of U.S. Government officials, including the impersonation of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials. [7]

                  As part of the complex scheme, individuals from call centers located in Ahmedabad, India, impersonated U.S. Government tax and immigration officials and contacted potential victims to defraud them out of money by threatening them with arrest, imprisonment, fines, or deportation if they did not pay alleged taxes or penalties to the Government. [8]

                  In order to liquidate the illegal proceeds, U.S.-based individuals, known as “runners,” were employed by the India-based call center conspirators. Patel was part of a crew of runners responsible for the liquidation of victims’ scammed funds. Patel communicated with coconspirators via the WhatsApp messaging service to receive his instructions. He purchased general purpose reloadable (GPR) cards that were then registered using the misappropriated Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of unsuspecting victims and were later used to retrieve victims’ funds. Patel used the GPR cards containing victims’ funds to purchase money orders and then deposit those money orders into bank accounts as directed by his coconspirators. Runners also received victims’ funds via MoneyGram® and Western Union® wire transfers using fictitious identities, and iTunes® or other gift cards purchased by victims. [9]

                  One victim, a resident of Naperville, Illinois, was extorted out of more than $37,000 by individuals purporting to be employees of the U.S. Treasury and the IRS demanding payment for alleged tax violations. The victim was instructed to purchase about 72 prepaid cards with a total stored value of more than $37,000. [10]

                  Patel was sentenced to a total term of 51 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release if not deported. [11] However, an order of removal was filed ordering Patel be promptly removed from the United States to India at the conclusion of his term of imprisonment. [12] Patel was further ordered to forfeit $24,000. [13]

                  • [1] N.D. Ga. Judgment filed Feb. 16, 2018.
                  • [2] N.D. Ga. Indict. 1:17-cr-00158-ELR-JSA filed May 3, 2017.
                  • [3] N.D. Ga. Crim. Information 1:17-cr-00277-ELR filed Aug. 17, 2017.
                  • [4] N.D. Ga. Plea Agr. filed Aug. 17, 2017.
                  • [5] N.D. Ga. Order of Removal filed Feb. 14, 2018.
                  • [6] N.D. Ga. Indict. 1:17-cr-00158-ELR-JSA filed May 3, 2017.
                  • [7] N.D. Ga. Crim. Information 1:17-cr-00277-ELR filed Aug. 17, 2017.
                  • [8] Id.
                  • [9] Id.
                  • [10] Id.
                  • [11] N.D. Ga. Judgment filed Feb. 16, 2018.
                  • [12] N.D. Ga. Order of Removal filed Feb. 14, 2018.
                  • [13] N.D. Ga. Order and Judgement of Forfeiture filed Feb. 14, 2018.


                  • March 28, 2018

                    IRS Impersonator Sentenced in Mississippi

                    On January 22, 2018, in the Northern District of Mississippi, Joel Pando was sentenced for conspiracy to commit wire fraud in association with a scheme involving the impersonation of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees. [1] Pando was initially indicted for this offense and others in April 2017, [2] and was arrested by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration special agents in May 2017. [3] Pando pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charge in August 2017. [4]

                    According to the court documents, between August 2015 and January 2016, Pando knowingly and willfully conspired with others to devise a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of false and fraudulent pretenses. [5]

                    To wit, coconspirators, working in conjunction with Pando, made unsolicited telephone calls to target victims and identified themselves either as IRS employees or as representatives of loan companies. If the caller was posing as an IRS employee, the victim was told that he or she owed money to the IRS, and that the debt must be paid immediately or the individual would risk arrest, deportation, or suspension of a driver’s license. The caller would direct the victim to a certain location to wire funds, typically a Walmart store. The caller would provide the victim with a name, location, and dollar amount for the wire transfer and would remain on the telephone with the victim to monitor the transactions. [6]

                    One victim was told she owed back taxes and if she did not pay immediately she would be arrested, her Social Security benefits would be taken, and she would lose her home. The victim wired a total of $18,800 to Pando as instructed. [7]

                    Pando would go to the location where the funds were being sent and show identification that was in the name of the person designated to receive the funds. Pando used at least 21 names as aliases in the execution of the scheme, including some of legitimate IRS executives and employees, and received wire transfers in at least eight different States. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Pando would also purchase airfare and rental vehicles for other conspirators in order for them to travel to various locations to receive wire transfers from victims. [8]

                    Pando was sentenced to 46 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. [9]

                    • [1] N.D. Miss. Judgment filed Jan. 24, 2018.
                    • [2] N.D. Miss. Indict. filed Apr. 19, 2017.
                    • [3] N.D. Miss. Crim. Docket as of Feb. 14, 2018.
                    • [4] N.D. Miss. Plea Agr. filed Aug. 21, 2017.
                    • [5] N.D. Miss. Indict. filed Apr. 19, 2017.
                    • [6] Id.
                    • [7] Id.
                    • [8] Id.
                    • [9] N.D. Miss. Judgment filed Jan. 24, 2018.


                    • Office Manager Pleads Guilty to Submitting Forged IRS Levy Release

                      On January 18, 2018, in the Northern District of New York, Kristina Gross was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, the misuse of the Department of the Treasury name. [1]

                      According to the court documents, Gross knowingly used the words “Department of the Treasury” and the name of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in connection with, and as a part of, a business activity in a manner conveying the false impression the activity was authorized by the Department of the Treasury and the IRS, when in fact, it was not. [2]

                      At all times relevant to the charge, Gross was the office manager for Casale Construction Services, Inc. based in Wyantskill, New York. In February 2017, an IRS revenue officer issued a Notice of Levy against Casale in the amount of $15,608.28 and served the notice on a bank where Casale maintained accounts. Subsequent to the IRS’s service of the levy notice, Gross sent an IRS Form 668-D, Release of Levy/Release of Property from Levy, to the bank via e-mail on two occasions. She did so in order to induce the bank to let Casale obtain access to its funds that the bank had frozen as a result of the IRS levy. Gross knew that the document she had sent to the bank was forged, and that it had not been approved, authorized, or issued by the Department of the Treasury or the IRS. [3]

                      Gross could face up to one year in prison and a fine of $10,000. [4] Her sentencing is set for May 18, 2018. [5]

                      • [1] N.D.N.Y. Information filed Jan. 18, 2018; N.D.N.Y Plea Agr. filed Jan. 18, 2018.
                      • [2] N.D.N.Y. Information filed Jan. 18, 2018.
                      • [3] N.D.N.Y Plea Agr. filed Jan. 18, 2018.
                      • [4] Id.
                      • [5] N.D.N.Y. Crim. Docket as of Feb. 8, 2018.


                      • South Carolina Woman Pleads Guilty in IRS Impersonation Scam

                        On January 23, 2018, in the District of South Carolina, E’Shellah Calhoun pleaded guilty to conspiracy for her role in a scheme involving the impersonation of IRS employees. [1] Calhoun was indicted for the conspiracy and other offenses on June 20, 2017, [2] and was arrested in Rock Hill, South Carolina, on June 28, 2017, by Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration special agents. [3]

                        According to the indictment, from at least March 2015 until June 20, 2017, Calhoun knowingly conspired with others to devise a scheme to defraud and to obtain money by means of false and fraudulent representations. The conspiracy included falsely pretending to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States and obtaining property by the wrongful use of fear. [4]

                        Members of the conspiracy would contact individuals and pretend to be employees of the IRS, demanding that money be sent to specified bank accounts in order to settle outstanding tax delinquencies. Victims were told they would face the consequence of a criminal tax prosecution if the delinquencies were not resolved. Victims were instructed to wire funds to a specified bank account, which Calhoun and others then withdrew for their own personal benefit. [5]

                        Calhoun could face up to five years’ imprisonment for the offense. [6] Her sentencing is scheduled for May 15, 2018. [7]

                        • [1] D.S.C. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 23, 2018.
                        • [2] D.S.C. Indict. filed June 20, 2017.
                        • [3] D.S.C. Executed Arrest Warrant filed June 29, 2017.
                        • [4] D.S.C. Indict. filed June 20, 2017.
                        • [5] Id.
                        • [6] D.S.C. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 23, 2018.
                        • [7] D.S.C. Crim. Docket as of Feb. 9, 2018.


                        • Former IRS Employee Charged with Impersonating a Federal Officer During Traffic Stops

                          On January 24, 2018, in the District of New Jersey, the Department of Justice announced that former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Deon Owensby was facing charges for impersonating a Federal officer or employee and possessing an official badge or identification card without authorization. [1] Owensby was charged with the offenses in a criminal complaint filed on January 5, 2018. [2]

                          According to the criminal complaint, Owensby was previously employed by the IRS in Trenton, New Jersey, as an attorney from about March 2010 until April 2015. During his employment with the IRS, Owensby was issued an IRS Pocket Commission, which IRS employees use as a means of identifying themselves to the public when performing their official duties. When Owensby separated from employment with the IRS in April 2015, he was obligated to return all IRS property, including the IRS Pocket Commission. However, Owensby instead told his supervisor that his Pocket Commission had been stolen. [3]

                          Between August 2015 and April 2017, Owensby was stopped by law enforcement on three separate occasions for traffic infractions. Each time, Owensby displayed a purported Federal employee identification card to the officers in support of his assertions that he was a Federal agent, an IRS employee, and an IRS tax attorney. One officer pointed out that the Pocket Commission was expired, but Owensby falsely claimed it was still valid. [4]

                          Owensby could face a maximum statutory penalty of three years’ imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Additional legal actions are anticipated.

                          • [1] Department of Justice, D.N.J. Press Release 18-029 issued Jan. 24, 2018.
                          • [2] D.N.J. Crim. Compl. filed Jan. 5, 2018.
                          • [3] Id.
                          • [4] Id.


                          • Delaware Restaurant Owner Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Bribe an IRS Employee

                            On January 16, 2018, in the District of Delaware, Domenico Procope pleaded guilty to attempting to bribe a public official. [1] Procope was initially charged in June 2016 for knowingly and corruptly offering and promising something of value to an employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with the intent to influence official acts. [2]

                            According to the court documents, Procope is a Delaware resident who owns and operates several restaurant establishments in the State. Procope had accumulated a significant business-related and personal income tax liability, which, as of February 2016, had grown to a total of approximately $531,000. Of that amount, Procope’s personal liability was approximately $434,000. [3]

                            An IRS revenue officer assigned to resolve Procope’s tax liabilities issued a Notice of Levy on Procope’s retirement account after he failed to provide the requested documentation. As a result, approximately $16,000 was turned over to the IRS from the retirement account. Prompted by the levy on his retirement account, in February 2016, Procope communicated with the IRS revenue officer several times by telephone and in person and offered to pay her a sum of money in exchange for reducing or eliminating his income tax liabilities. Specifically, Procope told the revenue officer he wanted “this to go away,” and offered the revenue officer $70,000 to make his tax debt “go away.” [4]

                            During an in-person meeting at Procope’s place of business in Bear, Delaware, immediately after the departure of Procope’s accountant from the meeting, Procope reiterated that he had $70,000 to resolve his tax debt. Procope proposed he pay $40,000 to the Government and $30,000 in cash for the revenue officer. Procope said the cash payment would be in exchange for a reduction in his IRS tax liabilities and indicated that he expected the revenue officer, in her official capacity, to cause the IRS to issue a letter stating that he had satisfied his personal liability of approximately $434,000. [5]

                            The following day, Procope gave the revenue officer a check in the amount of $40,000, made payable to the IRS, with the memo of “paid in full” written on the check. Additionally, he gave the revenue officer $30,000 in cash. [6]

                            Procope’s sentencing is scheduled for April 25, 2018. [7]

                            • [1] D. Del. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 16, 2018.
                            • [2] D. Del. Indict. filed June 7, 2016.
                            • [3] D. Del. Crim. Complaint filed May 16, 2016.
                            • [4] Id.
                            • [5] Id.
                            • [6] Id.
                            • [7] D. Del. Crim. Docket as of Jan. 24, 2018.


                            • February 27, 2018

                              Former IRS Employee Pleads Guilty for Stealing Taxpayer’s Identity

                              On January 5, 2018, in the Western District of Arkansas, former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Ryan Payne pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and false representation of a Social Security Number (SSN). [1] Payne was indicted for the offenses in July 2017. [2]

                              Payne was employed as a revenue agent at the IRS in Fayetteville, Arkansas, until January 2015, when he resigned. [3] According to the indictment, in April 2015 and in August 2015, Payne, knowingly and with the intent to deceive, falsely represented two SSNs to be his own while applying for a loan and applying for a bank account, respectively, when in fact neither of the SSNs was assigned to him. [4]

                              Payne admitted that one of these SSNs was obtained during his employment with the IRS. Specifically, as part of his duties as a revenue agent, Payne conducted an audit of the victim’s business. During the audit, the victim provided Payne with a flash drive containing business records and personal identifying information. Payne admitted he kept the flash drive after his resignation from the IRS and later retrieved the personal information from it. [5]

                              The victim was notified by Credit Secure that his identity had been compromised and multiple credit accounts were set up using his name, date of birth, and SSN. To wit, Payne had set up an account at Synchrony Bank using the victim’s SSN, but a business name and billing address associated with himself. [6]

                              Payne could face a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment for misuse of the SSN, plus a mandatory consecutive term of imprisonment of two years for aggravated identity theft. [7] A sentencing date has not been scheduled. [8]

                              • [1] W.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 5, 2018.
                              • [2] W.D. Ark. Indict. filed July 26, 2017.
                              • [3] W.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 5, 2018.
                              • [4] W.D. Ark. Indict. filed July 26, 2017.
                              • [5] W.D. Ark. Plea Agr. filed Jan. 5, 2018.
                              • [6] Id.
                              • [7] Id.
                              • [8] W.D. Ark. Crim. Docket as of Jan. 19, 2018.


                              • Woman Sentenced in Scheme Using Fictitious IRS Tax Liability

                                On January 5, 2018, in the Southern District of Florida, Doris Y. Ortega was sentenced for wire fraud [1] in connection with a scheme involving the impersonation of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Ortega was initially indicted for the offense in June 2017 [2] and pleaded guilty in October 2017. [3]

                                According to the court documents, Ortega knowingly devised a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses in order to unjustly enrich herself by inducing victims to make payments for fictitious debts. [4]

                                As part of the scheme, Ortega contacted the victims in person and falsely represented that they would have to make mortgage payments to her to avoid foreclosure on a home and tax payments to the IRS to avoid criminal prosecution. [5]

                                Ortega informed the victims that the bank requested approximately $60,000 related to the foreclosure and directed one victim to sell a home in Guatemala in order to pay it. Unable to sell the home, the victim obtained an equity line of credit on the property in the amount of $20,000 and wired the funds to the United States as instructed by Ortega. Prior to the victim’s return from Guatemala, Ortega advised that the victim would be arrested upon attempting to reenter the United States because of an IRS tax liability of around $28,000. The victims provided Ortega with $7,000, which she said would be enough for her to obtain clearance to allow the individual back into the U.S. [6]

                                Ortega later informed the victim that the remaining IRS tax liability of about $21,000 needed to be paid. Ortega supposedly applied two installments of $10,938 and $10,928 to the tax balance and sent a text message each time, purportedly from the IRS, stating the victim’s payment had been received. In reality, Ortega did not forward any of the funds to the IRS, but rather retained the money for herself. The victims eventually visited an IRS office and learned that they had never had a tax liability, and that the text messages provided by Ortega had not come from the IRS. [7]

                                Ortega was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, to be served consecutively to the undischarged terms of imprisonment in several State cases. Upon release from imprisonment, Ortega will be on supervised release for three years. Additionally, she is ordered to pay $37,928.47 in restitution. [8]

                                • [1] S.D. Fla. Judgment filed Jan. 5, 2018.
                                • [2] S.D. Fla. Indict. filed June 14, 2017.
                                • [3] S.D. Fla. Plea Agr. filed Oct. 11, 2017.
                                • [4] S.D. Fla. Indict. filed June 14, 2017.
                                • [5] Id.
                                • [6] S.D. Fla. Factual Proffer filed Oct. 11, 2017.
                                • [7] Id.
                                • [8] S.D. Fla. Judgment filed Jan. 5, 2018.


                                • South Florida Man Pleads Guilty to Theft of Federal Tax Refunds

                                  On December 13, 2017, in the Southern District of Florida, Carl Andre Guillaume pleaded guilty to theft of Federal tax refunds. [1] Guillaume had been indicted for the offense on October 10, 2017, [2] after agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration had arrested him on September 27, 2017. [3]

                                  According to the indictment, from about June 17, 2017 through September 27, 2017, Guillaume knowingly and willfully conspired with another to receive, conceal, and retain a U.S. Department of the Treasury tax refund check, with the purpose of unjustly enriching himself. They did so knowing the check to have been stolen. [4]

                                  As part of the conspiracy, on June 20, 2017, Guillaume opened three Bank of America accounts under the name “K.B. Trust.” [5] When opening the accounts, Guillaume presented corporation documents filed with the State of Florida, which listed him as the registered agent/officer. Three days after opening the accounts, Guillaume deposited into one of them a U.S. Treasury check in the amount of $133,008, which was issued to K.B. Trust for a tax refund. [6] He and an alleged coconspirator then began writing and cashing checks payable to themselves, which were drawn on the same account. [7]

                                  The Treasury check was confirmed to be a genuine trust fund income tax refund check. The trustee for K.B. Trust was identified and interviewed, and confirmed that he/she had not received an anticipated Federal tax refund check in the amount of $133,008, that he/she did not authorize anyone else to open a bank account in the name of K.B. Trust at Bank of America, and that he/she did not authorize or endorse the check to anyone else for deposit. [8]

                                  Sentencing is scheduled for March 2, 2018. [9] Guillaume could face a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment, followed by three years’ supervised release and a fine up to $250,000. [10] The court could further impose a special assessment fee and restitution in the amount of $133,008. Additional legal actions are anticipated. [11]

                                  • [1] S.D. Fla. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 15, 2017.
                                  • [2] S.D. Fla. Indict. filed Oct. 10, 2017.
                                  • [3] S.D. Fla. Crim. Docket as of Jan. 3, 2018.
                                  • [4] S.D. Fla. Indict. filed Oct. 10, 2017.
                                  • [5] Id.
                                  • [6] S.D. Fla. Crim. Compl. filed Sep. 29, 2017.
                                  • [7] S.D. Fla. Indict. Filed Oct. 10, 2017.
                                  • [8] S.D. Fla. Crim. Compl. filed Sep. 29, 2017.
                                  • [9] S.D Fla. Crim. Docket as of Jan 3, 2018.
                                  • [10] S.D. Fla. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 15, 2017.
                                  • [11] Id.


                                  • Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud

                                    On December 1, 2017, in the Southern District of Texas, Bhavdip Sanghavi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. [1] Sanghavi was indicted for the offense on May 25, 2017. [2] According to the court documents, from about June 2015 until May 2017, Sanghavi and a coconspirator knowingly conspired to intentionally devise a scheme to defraud and obtain money by means of false and fraudulent representations. Sanghavi and his coconspirator posed as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and unlawfully pressured victims to send fictional delinquent taxes to persons in the Houston, Texas, area via wire or mail. They then utilized runners to acquire the money. [3]

                                    The runners would provide the money to Sanghavi and his coconspirator, who would then give the runners a small payment for their participation. [4]

                                    On May 9, 2017, TIGTA special agents arrested Sanghavi. [5] On December 1, 2017, Sanghavi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his role in defrauding victims of more than $1.7 million during the conspiracy. [6]

                                    Sentencing is scheduled for February 28, 2018. [7] Sanghavi could face a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of not more than $250,000. In addition, he is subject to a mandatory special assessment fee, and there could be consequences pertaining to his immigration status if he is not a citizen of the United States. Additional legal actions are anticipated. [8]

                                    • [1] S.D. Tex. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 1, 2017.
                                    • [2] S.D. Tex. Indict. filed May 25, 2017.
                                    • [3] Id.
                                    • [4] Id.
                                    • [5] S.D. Tex. Crim. Docket as of Dec. 27, 2017.
                                    • [6] S.D. Tex. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 1, 2017.
                                    • [7] S.D. Tex. Crim. Docket as of Dec. 27, 2017.
                                    • [8] S.D. Tex. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 1, 2017.


                                    • Connecticut Woman Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Role in IRS Impersonation Scam

                                      On December 4, 2017, Nancy Frye was sentenced in the District of Connecticut for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. [1] A criminal complaint was previously filed on September 13, 2016, charging Frye and her accomplice Douglas Martin with the offense in connection with an IRS impersonation scheme. [2] Frye and Martin were subsequently arrested by TIGTA special agents on September 15, 2016. [3]

                                      The scheme to defraud in this matter involves individuals misrepresenting themselves as employees of the IRS during unsolicited telephone calls to intended victims. During the calls, the impersonator tells the victim that he/she has outstanding IRS debt and that funds must be wired immediately. [4]

                                      According to the criminal complaint, in October 2015, Frye received telephone calls and text messages from individuals who successfully recruited her to pick up money that was wired through MoneyGram® and Western Union® and to deposit the money into specific bank accounts. Frye, in turn, recruited Martin and others to assist her in picking up the wired funds from locations in Connecticut. Between October 2015 and May 2016, Frye and others working at her direction received approximately $547,000 in wired funds. Frye received approximately $40 per transaction and made approximately $500 per day. [5]

                                      Martin was previously sentenced to a total of 41 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $279,881.13. [6] Frye was sentenced to a total of 60 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, during which time she may be subject to psychiatric and/or psychological evaluation and substance abuse treatment at the discretion of a U.S. probation officer. Frye was also ordered to pay $588,221.01 in restitution. [7]

                                      • [1] D. Conn. Judgment filed Dec. 4, 2017.
                                      • [2] D. Conn. Criminal Complaint filed Sept. 13, 2016.
                                      • [3] U.S. Dept. of Justice Press Release issued Sept. 15, 2016.
                                      • [4] D. Conn. Criminal Complaint filed Sept. 13, 2016.
                                      • [5] Id.
                                      • [6] D. Conn. Judgment filed Nov. 2, 2017.
                                      • [7] D. Conn. Judgment filed Dec. 4, 2017.


                                      • January 31, 2018

                                        Louisiana Man Pleads Guilty for Misusing SSN in Attempts to Obtain President Trump’s Tax Information

                                        On December 11, 2017, in the Middle District of Louisiana, Jordan Hamlett pleaded guilty to the false representation of a Social Security Number (SSN). [1] Hamlett was indicted for the offense in November 2016. [2]

                                        According to the court documents, on September 13, 2016, Hamlett knowingly and with the intent to deceive, falsely represented the SSN of another to be his own for the purpose of creating a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a Federal Student Aid Identification Number (FSA ID). Hamlett also used the name, date of birth, and other personal information associated with the SSN in his online FAFSA request. [3]

                                        As part of his fraudulent use of the SSN, Hamlett answered requests for information required by the online FAFSA and by the associated Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Data Retrieval Tool, falsely declaring that he was the individual who was assigned the SSN. In fact, the SSN was assigned to then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. [4]

                                        By making such a declaration, Hamlett obtained an FSA ID and subsequently used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to unlawfully attempt, six separate times, to obtain the presidential candidate’s Federal tax information from the IRS servers. [5]

                                        Hamlett’s sentencing has not been scheduled. [6] He could face a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. [7]

                                        • [1] M.D. La. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 11, 2017.
                                        • [2] M.D. La. Indict. filed Nov. 10, 2016.
                                        • [3] M.D. La. Plea Agr. filed Dec. 11, 2017.
                                        • [4] Id.
                                        • [5] Id.
                                        • [6] M.D. La. Crim. Docket as of Dec. 14, 2017.
                                        • [7] Id.


                                        • Four Individuals Charged and Arrested in IRS Impersonation Scam

                                          On November 30, 2017, the Department of Justice, United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that four individuals had been charged in a scheme involving the impersonation of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees. Nakul Chetiwal, Parvez Jiwani, Moin Gohil, and Pratik Patel were each charged via criminal complaint and were subsequently arrested by Federal and local law enforcement, [1] including agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

                                          According to one of the criminal complaints, Gohil, Chetiwal, and Jiwani were identified as “runners,” who used fraudulent identification to pick up fraud proceeds for the scheme. Patel aided and abetted at least one of the runners. [2]

                                          As part of the scheme, unknown members called victims and made misrepresentations to them, typically stating that they owed taxes, and caused the victims to wire money through a wire service such as MoneyGram®. One such victim received a phone call from an individual claiming to be employed by the IRS and stating that the individual had been audited for the past three years and needed to pay $4,700 to the IRS in order to avoid being arrested, taken to court, and having a hold put on his Social Security. [3]

                                          Gohil, Chetiwal, and Jiwani utilized fraudulent identities to pick up payments wired from victims. The three received a total of $666,537 from 784 victims between January 25, 2016 and August 8, 2017. The coconspirators were identified picking up money transfers in a number of States, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and North Carolina. The false identities used by Gohil, Chetiwal, and Jiwani are potentially linked to an additional 6,530 fraudulent transactions totaling more than $2.8 million. [4]

                                          Additional legal proceedings are anticipated.

                                          • [1] E.D. Wis. DOJ Press Release issued Nov. 22, 2017.
                                          • [2] Id.
                                          • [3] E.D. Wis. Crim. Compl. Filed Nov. 22, 2017.
                                          • [4] Id.


                                          • Two Former IRS Employees Sentenced for Preparing and Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns While Employed by the IRS

                                            On November 13, 2017, in the Eastern District of California, former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees Della Ornelas and Randall Ruff were each sentenced for aiding and assisting in the preparation of fraudulent income tax returns and for making fraudulent tax returns while an employee of the United States. [1] Ornelas and Ruff were initially charged with the offenses in a 38-count indictment in April 2016, [2] and were subsequently arrested by agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. [3] They each pled guilty in August 2017. [4]

                                            According to the court documents, at all times relevant to the charges, Ornelas and Ruff were both IRS employees working in Fresno, California. Ruff had been employed by the IRS for approximately 31 years, and Ornelas for approximately 25 years. The two have been married since 2012 and lived together for approximately 20 years prior to that time. [5]

                                            Between 2005 and 2013, [6] Ornelas and Ruff prepared and filed, or caused to be filed, numerous fraudulent Federal income tax returns for themselves, their family members, their friends, and others. [7] Specifically, Ornelas willfully aided in the preparation and presentation of 20 Forms 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return, all of which contained fraudulent information resulting in higher tax refunds for the taxpayers. Additionally, Ruff willfully aided in the preparation and filing of 14 Forms 1040, all containing similar types of fraudulent information. [8]

                                            In addition to the charges related to the fraudulent returns of others, Ornelas, as an employee of the IRS, and in connection with a U.S. revenue law, knowingly made and signed her own Federal income tax return for Tax Year 2009, making false claims. Ruff made the same false claims on three of his own tax returns for Tax Years 2009, 2010, and 2011. [9]

                                            As a result of their fraudulent conduct, Ornelas and Ruff caused a total tax loss to the IRS of $130,124. [10]

                                            Ornelas and Ruff were each sentenced to six months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, six months of which will be monitored with location monitoring technology. Ornelas was ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $76,897. Ruff was ordered to pay $53,227 in restitution. [11]

                                            • [1] E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Nov. 16, 2017; E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Nov. 16, 2017.
                                            • [2] E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Apr. 14, 2016.
                                            • [3] E.D. Cal. Executed Arrest Warrant filed Apr. 15, 2016; E.D. Cal. Executed Arrest Warrant filed Apr. 15, 2016.
                                            • [4] E.D. Cal. Crim. Docket as of Dec. 8, 2017.
                                            • [5] E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Apr. 14, 2016.
                                            • [6] E.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed July 26, 2017; E.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed Aug. 25, 2017.
                                            • [7] E.D. Cal. Indict. filed Apr. 14, 2016.
                                            • [8] Id.
                                            • [9] Id.
                                            • [10] E.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed July 26, 2017; E.D. Cal. Plea Agr. filed Aug. 25, 2017.
                                            • [11] E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Nov. 16, 2017; E.D. Cal. Judgment filed Nov. 16, 2017.


                                            • Nigerian Man Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Role in Sophisticated Scheme Using Stolen Identities to Defraud the IRS

                                              On November 8, 2017, Michael Oluwasegun Kazeem was sentenced in the District of Oregon for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft. [1] Kazeem was initially indicted for the offenses on February 4, 2016, [2] and arrested on February 17, 2016, in Atlanta, Georgia [3] by agents of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and other Federal law enforcement agencies. Kazeem pled guilty on April 24, 2017. [4]

                                              According to the indictment, beginning as early as Tax Year 2012 and continuing until May 2015, Kazeem knowingly conspired with others to commit mail fraud, to defraud the IRS and obtain money through false and fraudulent representations, and to use the means of identification of others without lawful authority. Kazeem resides in Nigeria and in the State of Georgia. His brother (and coconspirator) lives in Maryland, and a third coconspirator resides in Georgia. [5]

                                              It was the object of the conspiracy to obtain stolen personally identifying information (PII) and use that information, coupled with information illegally obtained from IRS data systems, for the purpose of preparing and electronically filing fraudulent tax returns with the IRS to claim fraudulent refunds. [6]

                                              Kazeem and his coconspirators obtained, by unauthorized means, the names and other PII of over 250,000 U.S. taxpayers without their knowledge or consent. In furtherance of their conspiracy, Kazeem and his coconspirators then used the stolen PII for unauthorized access to the IRS transcript system, which was available online through the “Get Transcript” application, in order to obtain over 1,200 taxpayer transcripts for subsequent use in filing fraudulent returns in those taxpayers’ names. An IRS transcript shows the taxpayer’s tax return information, including line items from the return, income information, and basic data such as marital status, adjusted gross income, and taxable income. [7]

                                              The coconspirators used the stolen names and other PII, along with any IRS transcript information acquired, to create fraudulent income tax returns and false Forms W-2. The coconspirators also used the stolen PII to obtain Electronic Filing PINs in the names of the victims. An Electronic Filing PIN is a five-digit personal identification number required for electronically filed tax returns when the filer does not have certain items of information from the previous year. Kazeem sent communications to his brother containing over 4,000 fraudulently obtained Electronic Filing PINs and stolen taxpayer PII. [8]

                                              In total, Kazeem and his coconspirators used the stolen PII to file over 2,900 false Federal income tax returns seeking more than $25 million dollars in fraudulent refunds. The actual loss exceeded $4.7 million from tax returns accepted for payment by the IRS. [9]

                                              Kazeem was sentenced to a total of 84 months’ imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release. He was further ordered to pay $4,298,860 in restitution and may face deportation. [10]

                                              • [1] D. Or. Judgment filed Nov. 14, 2017.
                                              • [2] D. Or. Indict. filed Feb. 4, 2016.
                                              • [3] D. Or. Executed Arrest Warrant filed Feb. 18, 2016.
                                              • [4] D. Or. Plea Agr. filed Feb. 24, 2017.
                                              • [5] D. Or. Indict. filed Feb. 4, 2016.
                                              • [6] Id.
                                              • [7] Id.
                                              • [8] Id.
                                              • [9] Id.
                                              • [10] D. Or. Judgment filed Nov. 14, 2017.


                                              • Former IRS Revenue Agent Sentenced for False Statements and Aggravated Identity Theft

                                                On November 7, 2017, in the District of New Mexico, former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee Joan Mobley was sentenced on charges of making false statements and of aggravated identity theft. [1] Mobley was initially charged with the offenses in December 2014 in a 28-count indictment; [2] she pled guilty on March 13, 2017. [3]

                                                According to the court documents, Mobley was previously employed as a revenue agent for the IRS and in that capacity was responsible for conducting audits of small businesses. [4] The Indictment charged that between about December 2010 and December 2011, Mobley willfully and knowingly made materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements in matters within the jurisdiction of the IRS and knowingly transferred, possessed, and used the means of identification of another person without lawful authority. [5]

                                                Specifically, the Indictment alleged Mobley made false statements and representations to the IRS concerning seven taxpayers. She falsely stated and represented to the IRS that the taxpayers had consented to the extension of time to assess employment taxes and/or had agreed to the assessment and collection of additional tax. In fact, none of these taxpayers had consented or agreed to these items. Additionally, Mobley unlawfully used the identification of these seven taxpayers in connection with her false statements to the IRS. [6]

                                                In her plea agreement, Mobley unambiguously admitted that while she was a revenue agent, she was assigned to conduct an audit of a business based in Yuba City, California. She acknowledged that she did not complete the audit as assigned, however, and instead falsified official records incorrectly showing that she had completed the audit. In doing so, Mobley signed the name of the company president to the records, knowing that she did not have permission from the president or any other company representative to do so or to act on behalf of the business in any way, including with respect to taxes. [7]

                                                Mobley further admitted that she falsified the SS-10, Consent to Extend the Time to Assess Employment Taxes, to falsely represent that an authorized party of the business had agreed to an extension of time to assess employment taxes, knowing this was not true. Mobley also falsified a Form 2504, Agreement to Assessment and Collection of Additional Tax and Acceptance of Overassessment (Excise or Employment Tax), to state that the company agreed to the assessment and collection of additional tax. Again, Mobley knew at the time she falsified the form that no representative of the business had consented to the assessment and collection of additional tax. [8]

                                                Mobley was sentenced to a period of 27 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. MOBLEY was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $39,738.32, and a $4,000 fine. [9] In addition, MOBLEY was ordered to participate in a 500-hour drug treatment program. [10]

                                                • [1] D.N.M. Docket as of Nov 22, 2017; D.N.M. Plea Agr. filed Mar. 13, 2017.
                                                • [2] D.N.M. Indict. filed Dec. 3, 2014.
                                                • [3] D.N.M. Plea Agr. filed Mar. 13, 2017.
                                                • [4] Id.
                                                • [5] D.N.M. Indict. filed Dec. 3, 2014.
                                                • [6] Id.
                                                • [7] D.N.M. Plea Agr. filed Mar. 13, 2017.
                                                • [8] Id.
                                                • [9] D.N.M. Docket as of Nov 22, 2017.
                                                • [10] D.N.M. Sentencing Minute Sheet filed Nov 7, 2017.



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