A Nigerian national who entered the country on a visitor’s visa that expired two years ago is facing a mandatory prison term after admitting to his role in a phishing scheme that victimized educators in Connecticut.
Daniel Adekunle Ojo, a citizen of Nigeria residing in Durham, N.C., has pleaded guilty in New Haven District Court to fraud and identity theft charges that date back two years aago to a scheme to obtain identifying information of school employees both in Connecticut, and elsewhere, and later filing false tax returns in the names of his victims.
In February last year, an employee of the Glastonbury Public School District received an email that appeared to be sent by another Glastonbury school system employee, John Durham, the United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced on Friday. The email contained a request to send W-2 tax information for all employees of the school system.
Durham said that the recipient of the email responded by sending copies of the W-2 information for approximately 1,600 school employees. After that information was emailed, approximately 122 suspicious tax returns were filed electronically with the IRS in the names of victims of the Glastonbury phishing scheme. The 122 tax returns claimed tax refunds totaling $596,897. Approximately six of the returns were processed, and $36,926 in fraudulently-obtained funds were electronically deposited into several bank accounts.
Ojo pleaded guilty to controlling and using an America Online and Gmail account involved in the fishing scheme. A search of his Gmail account discovered emails that ultimately implicated him in the scene, including one email that had six W-2 forms of Glastonbury employees, with their identifying information.
Further investigation into the scheme by special agents in the FBI’s cybercrime squad in New Haven and the IRS found that Ojo was involved in phishing incidents that also included the Groton Public Schools, and the Bloomington Independent School District in Bloomington, Minnesota.
The 34-year-old Ojo pleaded guilty to individual counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. He is due to be sentenced on Sept. 13, when he will face more than two decades in prison.
Ojo has been detained since his arrest on Aug. 3 last year. He had entered the country on a visitor’s visa on May 23, 2016 and failed to depart on his scheduled departure date on June 8 that year.
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