ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A 53-year-old Ashburn resident was sentenced Friday to 54 months in prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, followed by three years of supervised release. This case was investigated by Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS); U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the Department of the Treasury’s Office of the Inspector General; and the Philadelphia Field Division of the Inspector General’s Office of the Social Security Administration.
Kouame Innocent Tanoh must also pay $671,760 in restitution and $651,769 in a forfeiture money judgment.
According to court documents, from around April 2008 through February 2015, Tanoh obtained individuals’ names and personal identifying information, including their Social Security numbers and dates of birth. Tanoh acquired some of this information by claiming to be a legitimate tax return preparer through a Virginia company called Alpha and Omega Financial Services. Some of the individuals who provided their personal information to Tanoh were clients of this business. Tanoh then used their names and personal identifying information for several different purposes, including the preparation and filing of fraudulent federal and state tax returns that made false claims for tax refunds. To increase the amount of the refund requested by the fraudulent returns, Tanoh would add items to the returns, including false dependents, false businesses on the taxpayer’s Schedule C, false education expenses and false moving expenses. The actual loss to the IRS and state departments of revenue as a result of the returns prepared and filed by Tanoh amounted to more than $650,000.
In addition to filing false tax returns, Tanoh used other people’s identities, in part because he had no legal status to work or remain in the United States. From at least 2009 through 2015, Tanoh used the names and personal identifying information of at least eight individuals to seek and obtain employment, housing, and other items of value, such as bank accounts. To facilitate his use of these stolen identities, Tanoh would obtain false means of identification in the victims’ names, including driver’s licenses and Social Security cards.
Tanoh pleaded guilty April 24.