IRS: CI 2023 Top Ten Tax Crimes: No 10--Filing False Tax Returns

file false tax returnThe annual IRS: CI Top Ten has returned, marking the ten most notable tax crimes of the prior year. First up is a French man going to prison in the U.S. for masterminding an international tax scam.


Originally from Nigeria, Mr. Ayodele Arasokun more recently resided in Paris, France. From there, Mr. Arasokun developed a scheme to steal identities and file false tax returns in order to obtain fraudulent refunds.


From Paris, Mr. Arasokun was able to gather key pieces of identity information from his victims, including names, social security numbers, and dates of birth. Many of the individuals whose identities were stolen were from West Virginia. When he had identity information, he was able to hack the Electronic Filing Pin application on the platform of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 


Once he established the fraudulent PIN identification with the IRS, he was able to move forward with filing false income tax returns. In all, Mr. Arasokun filed more than 1,700 fake tax returns using fictitious income amounts--which claimed more than $9 million in refunds and netted $2.2 million in actual refunds paid by the IRS.  


To obtain the returns, Mr. Arasokun monitored approximately 700 bank accounts in the U.S. and directed other returns to be deposited into pre-paid credit cards.


The presence of this case on the Top Ten list usually points to the audacity of the crime and the seriousness of the punishment. Federal prison sentences for tax crimes are based on statutory penalties, the loss figure, and the criminal history of the defendant.


In this case, Mr. Arasokun was able to garner more than $2 million in fraudulent refunds with the intent of scoring many millions more. Said U.S. Attorney General William Ihlenfeld, “The jury's verdict sends a clear message to criminals everywhere: don't mess with the IRS. We have the best cybercrime investigators in the world and if you tamper with our tax system, we will find you, extradite you, and incarcerate you."


Mr. Arasokun was convicted in October 2022 on 21 counts of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud. Just about one year later, the 46-year-old was sentenced to 34 years in prison.


As much as anything else, the IRS: CI Top Ten list is a loud cautionary tale to those with an interest in scheming and scamming the IRS. While the money may seem easy up front, the fall is generally spectacular. If you are involved in a tax fraud matter, speak with an experienced criminal tax defense attorney for guidance on getting out, before you earn a sentence that locks you in.


Experienced legal representation on criminal tax matters and business compliance

The tax attorneys at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC help individuals and corporations nationwide and abroad respond to allegations of tax crime, IRS audits, and compliance questions. When you need responsive, legal advice, contact us or call 800-579-0997. We have offices in Cleveland and Chicago.


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