Nigerian national, Daniel Adekunle Ojo, who had spent less than 14 months in the United States, has appeared before a U.S. magistrate judge in Greensboro, North Carolina who denied him bail and ordered he be detained pending his transfer to the District of Connecticut. Daniel Adekunle Ojo, was arrested at his Durham, North Carolina residence, and is charged with several felonies stemming from various alleged fraudulent tax schemes, Phishing schemes and identity theft offences. The offences stemmed from Daniel Adekunle Ojo’s phishing scheme, using an AOL and GMail email accounts that targeted school districts in Connecticut and Minnesota in an effort to get employees’ personal information and file bogus tax returns.
Daniel Adekunle Ojo’s arrest was announced Friday by Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, Patricia M. Ferrick, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Joel P. Garland, Special Agent in Charge of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation in New England.
Prosecutors said a school district employee in Glastonbury, Connecticut, received an email in February that appeared to be sent by another employee, who asked for tax information for 1,600 school district workers. The worker who received the email then forwarded the information, which was used in the scheme to file 122 bogus tax returns seeking nearly $600,000 in refunds, authorities said.
Officials said the Internal Revenue Service processed about six of the fake returns and electronically deposited nearly $37,000 in refunds to various bank accounts. Investigators linked the email sent to the employee to Daniel Adekunle Ojo, prosecutors said.
Officials also believe Daniel Adekunle Ojo was involved in similar email schemes targeting school districts in Groton, Connecticut, and Bloomington, Minnesota. In March, a Groton school employee emailed tax information of 1,300 employees in response to an email that appeared to be from the superintendent of schools. Authorities said the information was used to file about 66 fraudulent tax returns seeking about $364,000 in refunds. Officials said the fake returns weren’t processed because they had been flagged as being part of an identity theft scheme after school employees discovered the problem.
Prosecutors also said they linked the email account used by Daniel Adekunle Ojo to a similar scam that obtained tax information for about 2,800 school employees in Bloomington earlier this year.
Eric Placke, a federal public defender in North Carolina who represented Daniel Adekunle Ojo only for his initial court appearance, declined to comment Friday. It’s not clear who Daniel Adekunle Ojo’s attorney will be in Connecticut.
Daniel Adekunle Ojo
Authorities said Daniel Adekunle Ojo entered the U.S. in May 2016 on a visitor’s visa and failed to leave on his scheduled departure date in June 2016.
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut urged the public to double-check links and email addresses before clicking on and responding to them, to avoid becoming an identity theft victim.