The United States this week indicted a Russian national for obtaining over $1.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds from the Internal Revenue Service.
The man, Anton Bogdanov, is accused of wire fraud conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, and computer intrusion, as part of a scheme in which, together with others, he used stolen personal information to file fraudulent federal tax returns.
The indictment alleges that, between June 2014 and November 2016, Bogdanov and his co-conspirators accessed computer systems of private tax preparation firms in the United States and stole personally identifiable information (PII) such as Social Security numbers and dates of birth of identity theft victims.
The individuals then modified the tax returns to ensure that the refunds are paid to prepaid debit cards they controlled. They also used the misappropriated PII to obtain prior tax filings of victims from an IRS website, and filed new tax returns to have the refunds paid to prepaid debit cards under their control.
The debit cards were cashed out in the United States, while Bogdanov received a percentage of the proceeds in Russia.
Arrested in Phuket, Thailand, on November 28, 2018, Bogdanov was extradited to the United States in March 2019.
“As alleged in the indictment, Bogdanov and his co-conspirators combined sophisticated computer hacking and identity theft with old-fashioned fraud to steal more than $1.5 million from the U.S. Treasury,” Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said.
If found guilty and convicted, Bogdanov faces up to 27 years in prison.