The group used stolen personal information to seek $25 million in tax refunds.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oregon said investigators now suspect that a six-person crew based on the East Coast stole the personal information of more 250,000 people, then used the data to seek $25 million in tax refunds. Investigators believe the scheme generated $4.7 million in profits from at least April 2013 to May 2015 — $2.7 million more than revealed last May.
The group obtained the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of 83,000 people — including 40,500 Oregonians, by targeting a database owned by CICS Employment Services, a Lincoln City background-check company.
CICS discovered the breach in January 2015 and alerted officials in 15 states. An attorney for CICS told The Oregonian/OregonLive last year that the company notified affected customers a month later, and offered identity theft remediation and credit monitoring services for a year.
(READ MORE: Oregon Live)
Five people were indicted in May 2015, and the sixth man — Michael Oluwasegun Kazeem — was arrested earlier this month, according to Oregon Live.
Kazeem his brother and a third man were arrested in Georgia. Kazeem will be arraigned in Oregon, according to Portland Business Journal.
The trio ‘engaged in an identity theft conspiracy, in Oregon and elsewhere, involving a scheme to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service,’ according to the indictment. The scheme involved information from as many as 250,000 taxpayers designed to attract $25 million in fraudulent refunds.
(READ MORE: Portland Business Journal)