“These defendants stole funds from programs meant to assist American workers and families seeking to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine.
“The conspirators not only stole from the government but also victimized individuals and private businesses in this case,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey.
“These criminals shamelessly stole people’s hard-earned tax returns and money meant to help families during the pandemic, but thankfully they were exposed and are now facing justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama.
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges and other information presented in court: Bamidele Muraina was a Nigerian national residing in the metro Atlanta area at the time of his offenses. Between at least January 29, 2018, and continuing through approximately April 2020, Muraina hacked into multiple tax preparation and accounting firms located in several states, including a Brunswick, Georgia-based accounting firm. Muraina obtained access to the firms’ accounts with a national tax preparation program, stole personally identifiable information from their clients, and filed more than 275 fraudulent individual income tax returns in their names via the Internet. In total, Muraina’s fraudulent tax returns using stolen identities sought refunds from the IRS exceeding $2.6 million from 2018 through 2020.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathan P. Kitchens, Chief of the Public Integrity and Special Matters Section, Sarah E. Klapman, and Lauren T. Macon are prosecuting the case.