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June 1, 2015Dallas, TX, United StatesFinancial Crimes

4 indicted in Dallas for money laundering conspiracy

Defendants allegedly used stolen personal information to illegally obtain tax refunds they used to purchase more than $1 million in used cars they sent to Nigeria

DALLAS — Three individuals have been arrested on an indictment, which was unsealed on Friday, charging one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering stemming from their scheme to steal personal identifying information, use it to fraudulently obtain income tax refunds, and then launder those funds.

These arrests and indictment were announced by Acting U.S. Attorney John Parker, Northern District of Texas.

The following agencies investigated this case:  FBI, Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) Criminal Investigation, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Secret Service, and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Latonya Lanette Carson, 41, Ricardo Garth Solomon, 49, and Smith Olsola Akin, 32, made their initial appearances in federal court and each remains in custody.  A detention hearing is set for June 1 for Carson.  Another defendant, Segun Edomwonyi, aka “Benny O. Prince,” 49, is still at large.

The indictment alleges that the defendants’ scheme began in 2010.  They allegedly obtained stolen names and other personal identifying information.  They used that information to create fraudulent U.S. tax returns claiming fraudulent refunds.  They electronically filed the fraudulent returns with the IRS, and directed the refunds to be deposited onto reloadable debit cards they had purchased and registered online in the names of the identity victims.  The defendants then used these debit cards, funded by the fraudulent income tax refunds, to obtain cash and purchase used cars from wholesale dealers in Dallas County.

Over the course of the conspiracy, according to the indictment, the defendants established several bank accounts in the names of businesses that purportedly operated as used car businesses.  Nearly 2,000 money orders and checks, purchased in part with the proceeds from the fraudulently filed income tax returns, were deposited into these accounts.

The indictment alleges that between May 2012 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, and that between January 2012 and January 2015, the defendants and their conspirators exported about 204 used cars to Nigeria.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Stokes, Northern District of Texas, is in charge of the prosecution.