A Texas man was sentenced to 70 months in prison today for conspiring to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, in connection with a scheme to file false tax returns using stolen identities.
Emmanuel Akoto, also known as “Kofi,” of Grand Prairie, was convicted following a jury trial in October 2019. According to court documents and evidence at trial, from 2011 through 2014, Akoto purchased from third parties more than 560 stolen identities and used some of those identities to file false tax returns with the IRS. These returns listed fake income and tax withholdings and sought fraudulent refunds, which Akoto and his co-conspirators loaded onto pre-paid debit cards. At one point, Akoto tried to purchase, via email, identities from a U.S. Secret Service undercover agent. The wide-ranging conspiracy involved others in Texas, California, Georgia and Ghana.
Jeffrey Quaye, who was a co-defendant in the case, was sentenced in March to 24 months in prison. Quaye pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft prior to the trial against Akoto.
In addition to being sentenced to prison, U.S. District Judge Steven J. McAuliffe ordered Akoto and Quaye to pay restitution and to serve terms of supervised release following their prison sentences. Akoto was ordered to pay $551,601 in restitution and Quaye was ordered to pay $99,796. Each defendant was sentenced to two years of supervised release.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney John J. Farley for the District of New Hampshire made the announcement.
IRS–Criminal Investigations and the Secret Service investigated the case.
Trial Attorney Sean Green of the Tax Division, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kennedy, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney Arnold Huftalen of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Hampshire prosecuted the case.