TUCSON, Ariz. – Osabuohien Odyssey Oronsaye of Arizona has been sentenced to 364 days in federal prison after facing charges in a tax refund fraud scheme.
Apart from spending time in jail, Oronsaye will also have to pay nearly $50,000 in restitution.
Oronsaye was indicted on 58 counts by a federal grand jury in Tucson in December 2012. He was arrested in Mesa on Friday 7 December 2012 on several charges including wire fraud, false claims, aggravated identity theft and credit card fraud. The charges he faced were “historic” in nature according to the Sierra Vista Police.
After the completion of his prison sentence, he will be under supervised release for three years.
Oronsaye was ordered to surrender himself to the U.S. Marshals Service in Phoenix on 2 December 2012. The property crime unit had been working on his case with detective Colin Festa since February 2012 after they received a call from an employee at Cochise College who found a suspicious flash drive left in a computer.
The college employees tried to identify the owner of the flash drive but they found several files containing identity information of individuals along with their financial information on the flash drive. After some investigation, Festa identified the owner of the flash drive as 34-year-old Osabuohien Odyssey Oronsaye, a Nigerian man.
Upon further investigation, the detective found out that Oronsaye had purchased names and information online. He was using that information to prepare fraudulent tax returns. He then placed that money on prepaid debit cards and was using it to file tax returns. Festa explained that all the information regarding the individuals was made up and consisted of where they worked, how much they earned etc. The tax returns all claimed overpayment and he then got the overpayment refunded to prepaid debit cards.
Oronsaye was using personal information of around 800 to 900 people of different ages and localities, which included their names, date of birth, social security numbers and even bank details. He had been stealing this information for at least a couple of years from his home in Sierra Vista, although none of the people were actually from Sierra Vista. He was using his neighbors internet connection to file the tax returns and was using computers at Cochise College. The investigation also showed that Oronsaye had purchased the information for approximately $1.50 a name from a seller in Vietnam.
The Sierra Vista Police Department warns people against any type of fraudulent phone calls and personal inquiries that ask for personal information. Confidential information like social security number, bank details and credit card information should not be given to unknown people over phone or email.
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