DALLAS — Two North Texas residents were each sentenced Thursday to at least 10 years in federal prison for their roles in a scheme to steal personal identifying information, use it to fraudulently obtain income tax refunds, and then launder those funds.
These sentences were announced by U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas. This case was investigated U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), FBI, and Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation.
Following a four-day trial in October 2016 before Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn, a federal jury convicted Latonya Lanette Carson, 43, of Dallas, Texas, to the following crimes: one count of conspiracy to commit theft of public funds, access device fraud and wire fraud; three counts of aggravated identity theft; one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering; four counts of money laundering; and four counts of wire fraud. Judge Lynn sentenced Carson to 120 months in federal prison.
Smith Olsola Akin, 34, of Plano, Texas, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering in May 2016. Judge Lynn sentenced Akin to 135 months in federal prison.
Three additional defendants were charged in the scheme. Segun Edomwonyi, aka “Benny O. Prince,” and Titalayo Idowu Olukoya remain fugitives. Charges were dismissed against Ricardo Garth Solomon.
According to evidence presented at Carson’s trial, beginning in 2013, Carson and Akin, along with other coconspirators, were involved in a scheme in which they filed false tax returns using stolen identities, some of which belonged to incarcerated individuals. The co-conspirators converted the tax refunds from debit/Green Dot cards, using shell company bank accounts, into cash and cashier’s checks used to purchase vehicles that they then shipped to Nigeria.
Between May 2013 and May 2014, the defendants and their conspirators paid $1,184,950 from these accounts to purchase used cars from wholesale dealer auctions in Dallas County. Between January 2012 and January 2015, the defendants and their conspirators exported 279 used cars to Nigeria.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher Stokes and Camille Sparks, Northern District of Texas.