Judge Charlene E. Honeywell of the Middle District of Florida has sentenced Allen Levinson, a Nigerian formerly known as Allen Ameh, to six years and six months in federal prison for wire fraud conspiracy.
The US Department of Justice confirmed Levinson’s sentence on Monday.
Levinson was arrested after he tried to enter the United Kingdom in December 2020. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had linked him with a large-scale international tax fraud scheme, which he pleaded guilty to after his extradition to the US on February 3, 2022.
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“Levinson was the leader of a scheme that attempted to defraud the United States government of more than $63 million through the filing of false and fraudulent tax returns in the names of hundreds of identity theft victims,” the DOJ statement read in part.
“The scheme operated from summer 2014 through 2019. Out of the $63 million claimed in tax refunds, the IRS paid over $5.5 million, the majority of which went to Levinson.
“He recruited coconspirators T’Andre McNeely, Brandon Williams, Michael Carr, and others—through job placement ads and word of mouth—to collect the proceeds of the tax fraud and send it to Levinson.”
Levinson had obtained personal details of Americans from illegal marketplaces on the dark web and used those details to file the returns.
The Nigerian’s tax fraud team included multinationals such as Vietnamese co-conspirators.
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“He hired other foreign nationals—including individuals located in a boiler room in Vietnam—to prepare and file the returns quickly and in large batches. The returns were filed from real certified accounting firms across the United States, all of whom had been hacked by third parties and often had their information sold on darkweb marketplaces, including a website formerly known as the xDedic Marketplace. The xDedic Marketplace was a website that operated for years and was used to sell access to compromised computers worldwide and personally identifiable information of U.S. residents.”
Cyber criminals often use the dark web to stay anonymous while buying stolen details and moving funds in cryptocurrencies.
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