A Zimbabwean fugitive from American justice wanted for a $10 million tax fraud is living large in Masvingo after skipping the United States.
The Daily News reports that Julius Marimbire is living a flamboyant lifestyle in the idyllic town some 300 kilometres south of the capital Harare.
Marimbire, 32, his brothers Kudzaishe (in US custody) and Tawanda as well as four other Zimbabweans were indicted early this year for using stolen identities to obtain $10 million in fraudulent income tax returns in Cincinnati, Ohio in the US.
The other accused are Hlomera Mabhande, 30, Johannes Tagarisa, 37, Kudzaishe R. Bungu, 26, and Andrew T. Bere, 22.
Yet, Julius is spotted everyday cruising in top-of-the range vehicles, including Range Rovers, the latest Mercedes Benz, a Chrysler, and a Toyota Tundra.
The flashy Julius is believed to own a fleet of luxury buses which service the Harare-Johannesburg route as well as haulage trucks.
Julius, often seen sipping expensive single-malt whiskies, loves keeping the company of the “hottest chicks in town” even though he was married to an African-American woman when he fled from the US.
He patronises an up-market watering hole Club Liquids, owned by Zanu PF councilor, Namatirai Chivhanga.
Marimbire, who also owns a mansion in the plush low density suburb of Rhodene, declined to talk to the Daily News and instead became hostile when approached for comment.
The crime allegedly dates back to 2007, when the Zimbabweans filed Internal Revenue Service refund claims totaling as much as $10 million.
“The indictment alleges that the defendants stole personal identifying information for thousands of actual people,” said Carter Stewart, US attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.
“They allegedly used this information to file false federal income tax returns to obtain refunds, often before the actual taxpayers filed legitimate tax returns.
The defendants usually received the fraudulent refunds on debit cards tied to the returns.”
It is alleged that the seven would deposit false income tax refunds on the prepaid debit cards working on their behalf, cashing them in at ATM machines or by purchasing money orders.
They would then allegedly wire the money though African banks to friends and relatives for purchase of expensive vehicles and buildings in Zimbabwe.
The indictment alleges that Julius, a former Gokomere High School student, together with one of his brothers who are in federal custody, commenced the tax scam in 2007 through their dubious company Express Refund Centre, Marimbire Consultants, and HBM Management.
The conspiracy charges he is facing attracts not less than a 20-year jail term in the US.
Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Peter Zhanero declined to comment.
However, Julius, who is popularly known as “Jimba” in the lavish circles he inhabits in Masvingo, has become a major talking point in this city since his name emerged in the international media suggesting that he is on the US wanted list.