In a large-scale fraudulent tax return scheme based on identity theft, a Missouri man and his accomplices garnered more than $12 million in ill-gotten tax refunds from the IRS.
Those involved in this scheme crossed several regulatory and state lines to perpetrate a fraud that eventually ended after 2,000 false tax returns had been filed. Here is how Babatunde Olusegun Taiwo and those he worked with, carried out their scam:
- By breaching the payroll system of several public school systems, Mr. Taiwo and others were able to collect payroll information on employees.
- The crew then obtained W-2 forms from a variety of businesses by engaging in fraudulent business email scams.
- The hacking crew then gained access to Electronic Filing Identification (EFI) numbers used by several companies that offer tax preparation services. While tax preparers are often the target of the IRS for fraudulent practices, in this case, legitimate tax preparers were victimized by the fraudsters.
- Taiwo created mail forwarding addresses in Salt Lake City, Utah, Reno, Nevada, and other states. These fake addresses were used to forward mail to one of the accomplices who resided in St. Louis, Missouri.
- The group filed fraudulent tax returns through the use of software that changed the addresses from which the returns were being submitted.
- Then they got caught.
Mr. Taiwo was indicted by a federal grand jury in St. Louis, Missouri for conspiracy to file false tax claims, wire fraud, mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, and access device fraud (access device fraud is the use of an access tool or number to gain entry to property, services, or assets that one does not have a right to access).
Depending on the outcome of a potential plea deal or trial, Mr. Taiwo is facing statutory and mandatory sentencing of up to 20 or more years in prison, along with restitution, fines, and probation.
This complex scheme temporarily netted big money for Mr. Taiwo and his co-conspirators. While any gain will be forfeited, likely along with his liberty, Mr. Taiwo could have turned to a tax lawyer experienced with criminal tax defense to mitigate the potential damage to his future.
If you are aware of potential tax fraud in your business or behavior, knowledgeable legal defense can help you find the best solution for the circumstances of your situation—before the IRS knocks on your door.
Skilled legal representation if you are at risk for an IRS criminal tax investigation
Serving clients around the world from offices in Cleveland and Chicago, the tax attorneys of Robert J. Fedor Esq., LLC deliver strategic, straightforward legal guidance on tax litigation, payroll tax issues, and criminal tax matters. Call us at 800.579.0997 or contact us online today.