St. Louis resident sentenced to prison for role in a stolen identity fraud scheme that claimed $12 million in tax refunds

 

Stole public school employees’ identities to file fraudulent tax returns

Date: January 9, 2020

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Babatunde Olusegun was sentenced to 48 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and to pay restitution to the United States in the amount of $889,712 for his role in a tax fraud scheme.

According to documents and information provided to the Court, Babatunde Olusegun Taiwo, co-conspirator Kevin Williams and others, engaged in a scheme to file false tax returns in the names of individuals whose personal identifying information they obtained without authorization. In particular, Taiwo, Williams, and others accessed from a data breach at a payroll company the information of hundreds of individuals, including school district employees in Alabama and Mississippi. The co-conspirators then used the information to file false tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They sought to conceal their fraud by filing the tax returns under electronic filing identification numbers that the IRS issued to tax return preparation businesses that they obtained without authorization. The conspirators directed that the claimed refunds be mailed to their residences in St. Louis. In total, Taiwo and his co-conspirators filed more than 2,000 fraudulent tax returns that claimed more than $12 million in refunds, of which the IRS paid out $889,712.

"Today's sentencing of Babatunde Taiwo highlights how seriously IRS Criminal Investigation and our law enforcement partners take the issue of identity theft," said Thomas Holloman, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. "We will continue to pursue criminals who prey on innocent victims and we will continue to enforce our nation's tax laws. Today's sentencings should send a clear message to would-be criminals — you will be caught, and you will be punished."

"The Department remains committed to prosecuting those who use stolen identities to steal money from the United States by filing false tax returns and claiming fraudulent tax refunds," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman. "As today's sentence makes clear, there is a heavy price to pay for such criminal conduct."

Co-conspirator Williams was previously sentenced to 78 months in prison for his role in this scheme as well as voter fraud and re-entering the United States after having been removed.