MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — A Nigerian man was convicted in federal court in West Virginia for his role in an international conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government of millions by filing false U.S. tax returns.
Ayodele Arasokun was found guilty of 21 counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft by a jury.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of West Virginia published Friday, Arasokun orchestrated a scheme to file 1,701 false returns and claim $9.1 million in refunds.
West Virginians were among those whose identities were stolen in the process, according to the release. Arasokun was in a location just outside of Paris, France at the time of the crimes, but the release did not specify when they happened.
A total of $2.2 million in fraudulent refunds were actually paid by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the release said. The scheme involved compromising the Electronic Filing Pin application.
Investigators determined Arasokun was tracking about 700 U.S.-based accounts containing more than $50 million, and during the trial, evidence showed that he had the IRS transfer money to pre-paid debit cards or to checking accounts that he was monitoring.
Arasokun is currently being held in the Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg, where he will remain until his sentencing, according to the release.
The case was investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) – Cybercrime Investigations Division, and the IRS-CI, Los Angeles field office.