A Nigerian man living in St. Louis, United States has been sentenced to four years for stealing the identities of US citizens to file fraudulent tax return claims, made possible through data leaked in security incidents.
Babatunde Olusegun Taiwo, alongside co-conspirators including Kevin Williams, used the personal identifying information (PII) of individuals leaked due to a data breach at a payroll company to file false returns with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said on Thursday.
Taiwo will serve his time in prison alongside three years of supervised release. He has also been ordered to pay back every cent the IRS issued.
Submitted claims requested that refunds be sent to their addresses in St. Louis.
The DoJ says that in total, over 2,000 fraudulent returns were filed in an attempt to claim more than $12 million. The IRS paid out $889,712 before the scam was exposed.
Williams was previously sentenced to 6.5 years in prison not only for his role in the ID theft, but also for voter fraud and for re-entering the US after being removed from the country.
“We will continue to pursue criminals who prey on innocent victims and we will continue to enforce our nation’s tax laws,” said Thomas Holloman, Special Agent in Charge at the IRS Criminal Investigation Atlanta Field Office. “Today’s sentencing should send a clear message to would-be criminals — you will be caught and you will be punished.”