Living Large

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When you think of ”living large,” images of fancy homes, luxurious vacations and expensive cars might pop into your head. Members of a fraud ring in Ohio may have had similar thoughts when participating in a scheme that netted millions of dollars from filing fake tax returns. According to an article published on WLWT.com, the criminals used thousands of stolen taxpayer identities to reap the benefits of the fraudulent tax refunds.

The story states that the IRS and the Secret Service investigated a number of individuals in the Cincinnati area, who allegedly purchased the identities from illegal online forums and accomplices. (This happens all the time.) During a raid at several locations, government agents seized several luxury cars, computers and tax documents. (Talk about bling.) They hit the jackpot at a storage locker that contained more than $1 million in cash and money orders. It was determined that most of the stolen money was laundered and sent to Zimbabwe.

Most of the individuals allegedly involved in the scheme were in their 20s. One was arrested after trying to cross the Canadian border with $76,000 in cash. He pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. He will serve 70 months in prison. A co-conspirator pleaded guilty to one count of engaging in illegal monetary transactions. He will serve 27 months in prison. Unfortunately, four alleged members of the fraud ring are considered to be fugitives, since they fled to Zimbabwe following the raid.

The investigation of this case was part of the Department of Justice’s directive, Stolen Identity Refund Fraud (SIRF), which fights tax refund fraud of this magnitude. These criminals were caught in the act and will be punished for their dishonest behavior. Here’s hoping these fraudsters learn something while serving time and potentially making license plates for fancy cars like the ones they owned while ”living large.”

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”2 Sentenced for Multi-million Dollar Tax Fraud Operation,” published by WLWT.com on March 7, 2014.

CINCINNATI —Two men will spend at least 2 years in prison for their roles in a tax fraud scheme that netted millions of dollars.

Tawanda Marimbire, 25, of Cincinnati, was sentenced to 70 months in prison, while co-conspirator Kudzaishe Robert Bungu, 28, was sentenced to 27 months in prison.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.