Fort Lee Man Admits Using Personal Information Stolen From U.S. Service Members to File Phony Tax Returns

A Fort Lee man today admitted generating phony tax refunds using personal identifying information stolen from current and former members of the U.S. army, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

According to authorities, Shope Oluwo, 33, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Freda L. Wolfson in Trenton federal court to an indictment charging him with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

From January through February 2016, Oluwo conspired with others, including Dermot Sutherland, 29, of Philadelphia, to obtain personal identifying information that was stolen from current or former members of the U.S. Army. Oluwo used that stolen information to create fake military identification cards and fraudulent W-2 forms bearing the victims’ names.

Officials say Oluwo provided the phony cards and W-2 forms to Sutherland, who posed as the victims and filed phony returns with a tax preparation company. Afterwards, Sutherland received debit cards from the tax preparation company that contained the ill-gotten refunds.

The conspiracy to commit wire fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

The access device fraud charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison and $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.

The aggravated identity theft charge carries a term of imprisonment of two years which must run consecutively to any other prison term. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 26th.

According to authorities, Sutherland previously pleaded guilty to his role in the scheme and awaits sentencing.