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Man pleaded guilty to a Phishing Scheme Victimizing the Connecticut School Employees


A Nigerian citizen, aged 36 years was arrested, and pleaded guilty before the Federal judge on December 20, 2018. The accused was brought before the federal judge because of a conspiracy charge against him stemming from the scheme to obtain personal identifying information of the school employees.


As per a release from U.S. Attorney of Connecticut, John H. Durham, the accused named Olukayode Ibrahim Lawal, who was last reported to be living in Smyrna, Georgia, was pleaded guilty before Judge Jeffrey A. Meyer, U.S. District Judge in New Haven.


As per court documents and the statements made in the court, New Haven's FBI Cybercrime squad special agents along with the IRS are investigating the phishing emails that were being sent to the different school districts of Connecticut, in the year 2017.


In 2017, in the month of February, Sacred Heart Academy of Hamden became a victim of a phishing email which requested the W-2 forms for their employees. W2 forms of around 103 employees' were compromised due to the phishing email, said the officials in the release. Even IRS confirmed that fraudulent tax returns were filed electronically with them by 33 victims, claiming refunds amount of $314,184. However, no returns were processed as they were suspected by IRS of being fraudulent.


In another incident, Groton Public School's one of the employee in March 2017 received an email that seems to have come from another employee of the Groton School system. The email requested the recipient employee to send the W-2 tax information of all the employees of school system. The officials said that the email recipient responded by sending W-2 information copies of around 1,300 employees of Groton Public Schools.


After W-2 information has been emailed, around 100 suspicious Forms 1040 got filed electronically with IRS in names of the victims of Groton phishing scheme. These 100 tax returns claim refund amount of $491,737. Out of these 100, three returns have been processed and thus $23,543 fraudulently obtained funds got deposited in several bank accounts as per the release. However, no other returns were processed as they were suspected by IRS of being fraudulent.


Lawal, the accused in the case, controlled or used some email accounts that are involved in the phishing scheme, said the officials. The co-conspirator of Lawal sends the personal identifying information, which includes names as well as Social Security Numbers, of no less than 10 employees to the email account used by Lawal. Lawal then sent the personal identifying information of the victims' to another co-conspirator, as per the release.


The Meyer has scheduled the sentencing of Olukayode Ibrahim Lawal on March 14, 2019.


» SPAMfighter News - 1/4/2019

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