2 San Antonio residents charged in sophisticated stolen identity tax refund fraud scheme seeking $111 million from IRS

Defendants accused of using money orders, prepaid debt cards to pay for house renovations, designer clothes, used cars; they could face maximum punishment of 52 years in federal prison

Illustration (Graham Media Group)

AUSTIN, Texas – A man and a woman from San Antonio are among seven people charged in a conspiracy to claim $111 million in hundreds of fraudulent tax refunds by using the stolen identities of accountants and taxpayers, federal officials said.

Named in a federal indictment were Meghan Inyang and Dillon Anozie of San Antonio. Also indicted by a federal grand jury in Austin were Abraham Yusuff and Christopher Eduardo, both of Round Rock, Babajide Ogunbanjo, of Austin, Aydin Mammadov, of Houston, and Christian Mathurin, of Nashville, Tenn.

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According to the indictment, from 2018 through 2021, Yusuff allegedly recruited and directed Eduardo, Mathurin, Anozie, Ogunbanjo and Mammadov to provide addresses to him that could be used in the scheme. The defendants then allegedly registered with the IRS, posing as authorized agents of multiple taxpayers using stolen information relating to the taxpayers and their real tax preparers. The conspirators then allegedly directed the IRS to change the addresses on file for the taxpayers and to send their tax information, including account transcripts and wage records, to the addresses controlled by the conspirators. The conspirators then allegedly used this information to electronically file tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds and directed the IRS to split the refunds among several prepaid debit cards. Prior to issuing tax refunds to some taxpayers, the IRS allegedly sent verification letters to the addresses controlled by the defendants, and the defendants and others, pretending to be the taxpayers, instructed the IRS to release the refunds.

The indictment also charges that Yusuff, Inyang, Eduardo, Anozie, Ogunbanjo, and Mammadov obtained the prepaid debit cards that were to be used to receive the fraudulent refunds and that once the refunds were deposited onto the prepaid debit cards, they laundered the funds by purchasing money orders from local stores in amounts low enough to avoid reporting thresholds. Yusuff and others also allegedly used the prepaid debit cards and money orders to purchase designer clothing, home renovation materials, and used cars at auction. The indictment alleges that all defendants kept or received money orders purchased with the fraudulent refunds as their share of the illegal proceeds.

The indictment charges each defendant with varying crimes, including mail and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, money laundering, and access device fraud.

If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the mail and wire fraud and the conspiracy of said fraud, 20 years for money laundering, 10 years for access device fraud, and a mandatory sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft.

In addition to any term of imprisonment, each of the defendants also faces a period of supervised release, monetary penalties, restitution, and forfeiture.

A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering US sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

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David Ibañez has been managing editor of KSAT.com since the website's launch in October 2000.

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