Five Charged In Identity Theft Scheme With Thousands of Victims

(Newsroom America) — Five people from around the United States have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Erie on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft with thousands of victims.

The 13-count superseding indictment, returned on April 8, 2014, named:

Doherty Kushimo, 52, of Providence, Rhode Island;
Saburi Adeyemi, 56, of Memphis, Tennessee;
Abiodun Bakre, 49, Ozone Park, New York;
Adetunji Gbadegeshi, 57, of Queens, New York; and
Adebola Mejule, 54, of Hempstead, New York, as defendants.

According to the superseding indictment presented to the court, the five defendants conspired to commit wire fraud by submitting fraudulent federal tax returns in the names of individuals whose identities the conspirators stole.

The conspirators then opened bank accounts using other stolen identities and used those accounts as repositories for their fraudulently obtained federal tax refunds.

The conspirators obtained stolen identity information on the Internet and then traded that information among themselves using e-mail accounts and other means of communication.

All told, the indictment alleges that approximately $21 million in fraudulent tax refunds was sought from the IRS by the conspirators, causing the IRS to pay approximately $10 million in fraudulent refunds.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 20 years in prison for Saburi Adeyemi, Adetunji Gbadegeshi, and Adebola Mejule. Doherty Kushimo faces 38 years in prison and Abiodun Bakre faces 36 years in prison.

All five defendants are subject to a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the amount of loss to the victims.

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendants.

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