An Entrance Fee To Fraud

Close-up Of A Businessperson's Hand Checking Invoice On Computer At Workplace

Abraham Yusaff, of Round Rock, Texas, built a dream team for his alleged income tax return scheme. All were carefully selected because of what they could provide to the scheme. They all brought stolen identities to the venture. An entrance fee to fraud! Dues to join the team, so to say.

To do this scheme, Yusuff and others first registered with the IRS, posing as authorized agents of multiple taxpayers using stolen information relating to the real tax preparers. After getting clearance as the fraudulent authorized agents, the group directed the IRS to change the addresses on the stolen taxpayers’ files and send them their tax information, including account transcripts and wage records. Using this information, the dream team then used the data to file tax returns electronically, claiming fraudulent refunds.

Prior to issuing tax refunds to some taxpayers, the IRS allegedly sent verification letters to the addresses controlled by the defendants. The defendants and others, allegedly pretending to be the taxpayers, instructed the IRS to release the refunds. And release the funds the IRS did — $110 million in total. The moment the refunds were deposited onto their prepaid debit cards, Yusuff and other members laundered the funds by purchasing, among other things, money orders from local stores in amounts low enough to avoid reporting thresholds. They also used the prepaid debit cards and money orders to purchase designer clothing, home renovation materials and cars.

According to a statement on March 7, 2023, by the US Justice Department, Abraham Yusuff, and his cybercrime team of six, defrauded the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of  $110 million from 2018 to 2021.

Great job by the Internal Revenue Service for seeing through the multiple layers of stolen identities in this fraud.

Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Feds Charge 7 with $110 Million Tax Refund ID Theft Scheme” published by CPA Practice Advisor on March 14, 2023

On March 7, a federal grand jury in Austin, Texas, returned an indictment charging seven individuals with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and other crimes arising out of their scheme to defraud the IRS using stolen identities. The indictment was unsealed on March 13, 2023.

According to the indictment, from 2018 through 2021, Abraham Yusuff, of Round Rock, Meghan Inyang, of San Antonio, Christopher Eduardo, of Round Rock, Christian Mathurin, of Nashville, Tennessee, Dillon Anozie, of San Antonio, Babajide Ogunbanjo, of Austin, and Aydin Mammadov, of Houston, engaged in a conspiracy to claim fraudulent tax refunds using the stolen identities of accountants and taxpayers by filing at least 371 false tax returns claiming over $111 million in refunds from the IRS.

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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.