PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – One of the five suspects connected to a huge identity theft scheme involving the IDs of more than 125,000 people is on trial in Medford this week.
An indictment alleges that Emmanuel Oluwatosin Kazeem and four other people engaged in “a complex identity theft scheme, involving the identities of over 125,000 people, for the purpose of obtaining fraudulent tax refunds from the IRS and the Oregon Department of Revenue.”
“Defendant and his co- conspirators used stolen Personal Identification Information (PII) to access individual IRS taxpayer transcripts, obtain IRS electronic filing PINs, file the individual taxpayer’s returns, and obtain the fraudulent refunds utilizing prepaid debit cards registered with the stolen PII,” according to court documents.
The actual loss to the government was more than $6.9 million.
On May 13, 2015, agents of IRS Criminal Investigations, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) simultaneously executed the search warrants at locations in Maryland and Georgia as part of the investigation.
Law enforcement seized electronic evidence from Kazeem’s Maryland residence that contained over 2,000 unique social security numbers, according to court documents.
Court documents show that a recent investigation by the Fraud Detection National Security Section of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services revealed that Kazeem and an unnamed person entered into a fraudulent marriage “for the sole purpose of evading the immigration laws of the United States.”
As a result, USCIS, along with Homeland Security Investigations, will pursue de-naturalization, records state.
The woman who was part of the sham marriage admitted that Kazeem did not live at the address as claimed and that she had entered an arranged marriage with Kazeem “for the purpose of assisting him with obtaining citizenship,” according to federal court documents.
In April 2017, Kazeem had indicated he wanted to change his plea instead of heading to trial but then backed out of the plea agreement.
The trial is scheduled to last two weeks in Medford.