Identity theft scam netted Nigerians $11 million, and prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In one of the largest federal tax fraud cases prosecuted in Oregon, a Nigerian man has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for his role in the bilking of over $11 million via an identity-theft scheme from the Internal Revenue Service and the Oregon state tax authority.

An IRS criminal investigation determined the co-conspirators obtained personal identifying information of more than 259,000 people, and used it to acquire over 19,500 electronic filing PINs from the IRS.

The U.S. Attorney’s office for Oregon said Tuesday they obtained and used pre-paid debit cards with victims’ stolen identities to receive direct electronic tax refund deposits. They eventually filed over 10,000 fraudulent federal tax returns, attempting to obtain over $91 million in refunds, with actual losses amounting to over $11 million.