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Zimbabwean fraudster jailed for 5 years in Texas



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By Staff Reporter

A ZIMBABWEAN man nabbed over a multi-million income tax fraud in Texas, United States, has been jailed for five-and-half years.

Campion Takura Mugweni will pay back close to US$2 million in restitution; forfeit US$40 000 cash seized on his arrest; and hand over his 2005 Hummer H2 vehicle and a 2006 Range Rover vehicle as part of a plea bargain deal with US prosecutors.

Mugweni admitted that from October 2006 until April 2007 he schemed with others to prepare and electronically file fraudulent income tax returns by using personal identification information without authorisation.

As part of the scam, he would then use those fraudulent tax returns, which showed that refunds were owed to the taxpayers, as a basis for obtaining fraudulent refund anticipation loans from banks.

An Electronic Filer Identification Number (EFIN) is needed to electronically file tax returns, and the IRS maintains records of all tax returns filed under a specific EFIN.

In a typical case, Mugweni persuaded one client to apply for an EFIN in her name with the agreement that he would pay her for it. He ultimately paid her $11,000.

Court documents further state that beginning in January 2007, Mugweni and his co-conspirators prepared and began filing the fraudulent returns and then used the fraudulent returns as a basis for obtaining refund anticipation loans from federally insured banks, including HSBC Bank USA and Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, a subsidiary of Pacific Capital Bank.

Mugweni gave the cheques to co-conspirators who cashed them in Fort Worth. Mugweni shared in the cash proceeds of his scheme.

When agents with IRS-CI executed a search warrant at Mugweni’s apartment on April 10, 2007, they discovered, in a shoe box in his bedroom closet, 27 empty “stored value cards,” (debit cards), which were provided by the banks to store the proceeds of the refund application loans.

He also had in his apartment credit applications for numerous individuals who had not given him permission to possess their personal identification information such as their Social Security numbers.

U.S. Attorney Roper praised the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Penley prosecuted the case.

“Identity theft is a serious crime with serious consequences. CI will continue to aggressively pursue those who file false tax returns with stolen identities to claim refunds to which they are not entitled,” said Michael Lahey, IRS Special Agent in Charge for the Dallas Field Office.

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade jailed Mungweni for 66 months with a recommendation for his deportation at the end of his sentence.

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