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Saturday, August 5, 2017

FBI arrests Nigerian Adekunle Ojo for identity theft

A Nigerian , Daniel Adekunle Ojo , who had spent less than 14 months in the United States, has been arrested in Durham , North Carolina and charged with fraud and identity theft offences
The offences stemmed from Ojo ’s phishing scheme , using an AOL and GMail email accounts that targeted school districts in Connecticut and Minnesota in an effort to get employees’ personal information and file bogus tax returns .

His arrest was announced Friday by Deirdre M . Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut , Patricia M . Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Joel P . Garland , Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation in New England
Following his arrest at his Durham residence , Ojo appeared before a U . S . magistrate judge in Greensboro, N . C . , and was ordered detained pending his transfer to the District of Connecticut .

Prosecutors said a school district employee in Glastonbury , Connecticut , received an email in February that appeared to be sent by another employee, who asked for tax information for 1 ,600 school district workers . The worker who received the email then forwarded the information, which was used in the scheme to file 122 bogus tax returns seeking nearly $ 600 ,000 in refunds , authorities said.

Officials said the Internal Revenue Service processed about six of the fake returns and electronically deposited nearly $ 37 ,000 in refunds to various bank accounts .

Investigators linked the email sent to the employee to Ojo , prosecutors said.

Officials also believe Ojo was involved in similar email schemes targeting school districts in Groton , Connecticut , and Bloomington, Minnesota.

In March, a Groton school employee emailed tax information of 1 , 300 employees in response to an email that appeared to be from the superintendent of schools . Authorities said the information was used to file about 66 fraudulent tax returns seeking about $ 364 , 000 in refunds . Officials said the fake returns weren’ t processed because they had been flagged as being part of an identity theft scheme after school employees discovered the problem .
Prosecutors also said they linked the email account used by Ojo to a similar scam that obtained tax information for about 2 , 800 school employees in Bloomington earlier this year.

Eric Placke , a federal public defender in North Carolina who represented Ojo only for his initial court appearance, declined to comment Friday. It’ s not clear who Ojo ’s attorney will be in Connecticut .
Authorities said Ojo entered the U. S . in May 2016 on a visitor ’ s visa and failed to leave on his scheduled departure date in June 2016 .

Daly urged the public to double - check links and email addresses before clicking on and responding to them, to avoid becoming an identity theft victim .
Original Press Release issued by US
Department of Justice

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