Count the Crimes

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If there were ever a game show dedicated to fraudsters, it could be called “Count the Crimes.” (Can’t you imagine criminals competing for the prestigious designation of Criminal of the Week based on the number of crimes committed?) Today ‘s fraudster would definitely qualify to be one of the largest contenders topping out at 14 crimes. (However, he may not be too excited about the grand prize.)

Today ‘s contestant hails from Nigeria and has been indicted on charges of mail fraud, identity theft, voter fraud, illegal reentry and being a felon in possession of a firearm. He allegedly participated in a sophisticated stolen identity refund fraud scheme along with several other federal offenses.

Let ‘s take a look at the indictment charges and count the alleged crimes:

  1. He, and others, stole public school employees’ IDs from a payroll company.
  2. He used the stolen identities to electronically file 2,000+ fraudulent income tax returns seeking $12 million in refunds.
  3. He stole several Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs), which are used by tax preparers to electronically file tax returns.
  4. He used the EFINs to obtain bank products, which allowed him to print refund checks.
  5. He had the refund checks issued in the names of the stolen IDs and blank check stock and debit cards sent to his home.
  6. He entered the U.S. from Nigeria using a different name and was previously deported.
  7. He returned to the U.S. from Nigeria again, using a different last name.
  8. He claimed he was a U.S. citizen.
  9. He illegally registered to vote in federal elections.
  10. He illegally registered to vote in state elections.
  11. He illegally registered to vote in local elections.
  12. He voted in a presidential election.
  13. Then, he voted in another presidential election.
  14. He was illegally in possession of a firearm on the day he was arrested.

Let ‘s remember that an indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed and the defendant in this case is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, let ‘s keep this in mind if he is convicted of any of the above charges: He is facing a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud; a minimum sentence of two years for aggravated identity theft; a maximum of 10 years behind bars for illegal entry; a maximum of five years for each count of voter fraud; and, a maximum of 10 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Tune in next time to find out if this felon is going to be the winner of an all-expense paid trip to a lovely gated community with 24-hour security, three daily gourmet meals, and a free trip back to Nigeria in about 20 years. (The suspense is killing me, how about you?)

Source: Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on a Department of Justice press release entitled, “Missouri Man Indicted for $12 Million Tax Refund Fraud, Voter Fraud, Illegal Reentry and Felon in Possession of Firearm,” released on March 29, 2017.

A federal grand jury sitting in St. Louis, Missouri, returned a superseding indictment today charging a St. Louis resident for his role in a sophisticated stolen identity refund fraud scheme and other federal offenses, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Carrie A. Costantin for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The superseding indictment charges Kevin Kunlay Williams aka Kunlay Sodipo, a Nigerian citizen, with mail fraud, aggravated identity theft, voter fraud, illegal reentry and being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the indictment, Williams and others stole public school employees’ IDs from a payroll company and used them to electronically file more than 2000 fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking more than $12 million in refunds. He also allegedly stole several Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) that he used to secure bank products allowing him to print refund checks and direct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to send refunds to prepaid debit cards. The indictment alleges that Williams had refund checks issued in the names of the stolen IDs, and blank check stock and debit cards sent to his residence.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.