A Nigerian, Smith Olusola Akin, 34, of Plato in Texas and Latonya Lanette Carson, 43, of Dallas, Texas were on Thursday sentenced for their role in a scheme to steal personal identifying information, use it to fraudulently obtain income tax refunds, and then launder those funds, U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas has announced.
According to a release by FBI, following a four-day trial in October 2016 before Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn, a federal jury convicted Carson of one count of conspiracy to commit theft of public funds, access device fraud and wire fraud; three counts of aggravated identity theft; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; four counts of money laundering; and four counts of wire fraud. Judge Lynn sentenced Carson to 120 months in federal prison.
Akin, the report stated pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in May 2016 and Judge Lynn sentenced Akin to 135 months in federal prison.
Three additional defendants charged in the scheme, Segun Edomwonyi, a.k.a “Benny O. Prince,” and Titalayo Idowu Olukoya remain fugitives.
Charges were dismissed against Ricardo Garth Solomon.
According to evidence presented at Carson’s trial, beginning in 2013, Carson and Akin, along with other conspirators at large were involved in a scheme in which they filed false tax returns using stolen identities, some of which belonged to incarcerated individuals.
It was gathered the conspirators converted the tax refunds from debit/Green Dot cards, using shell company bank accounts into cash and cashier’s checks used to purchase vehicles that they then shipped to Nigeria.
Between May 2013 and May 2014, the defendants and their conspirators paid $1,184,950 from these accounts to purchase used cars from wholesale dealer auctions in Dallas County, and between January 2012 and January 2015, the defendants and their conspirators exported approximately 279 used cars to Nigeria.
The FBI, IRS Criminal Investigation, and U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigated the case and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Stokes and Camille Sparks.