Bamidele Muraina, 35, of Oyo, Nigeria, was sentenced to five years and ten months in prison followed by three years of supervised release.
Bamidele Muraina, who hacked into tax preparation firms and filed fraudulent unemployment benefit claims and tax returns using stolen personally identifiable information, and Gabriel Kalembo, a previously convicted fraudster who laundered the fraudulent assets, have been sentenced to federal prison.
“These defendants stole funds from programs meant to assist American workers and families seeking to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “The collaborative efforts of our law enforcement partners were essential to disrupting a sophisticated network of criminals and bringing their front runners to justice.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on us all. The enterprise created by these serial criminals further victimized our citizenry by robbing them of financial resources that were intended to help them,” said Special Agent in Charge, Steven Baisel, U.S. Secret Service Atlanta Field Office. “Thanks to our judicial system, justice has been served.”
“The sentencing of the defendants should serve as a deterrent to all who intend to exploit the COVID-relief programs that were designated to assist those in need during the pandemic,” said Tommy D. Coke, Inspector in Charge of the Atlanta Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service. “Postal Inspectors will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to investigate anyone that steals federal funds to enrich themselves and have them held accountable under the law.”
“The conspirators not only stole from the government but also victimized individuals and private businesses in this case,” said IRS Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey. “Recovering from ID theft often costs time, money, and stress for all parties involved. Thanks to successful partnerships with our agency counterparts and leveraging our financial expertise to serve and protect our communities from further harm.”
“These criminals shamelessly stole people’s hard-earned tax returns and money meant to help families during the pandemic, but thankfully they were exposed and are now facing justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Katrina W. Berger, who oversees Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) operations in Georgia and Alabama. “HSI and its law enforcement partners will continue to aggressively pursue those that seek to profit from these activities.”
Bamidele Muraina, 35, of Oyo, Nigeria was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William M. Ray II to five years and ten months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and he ordered Muraina to pay $561,125.62 in restitution.
Gabriel Kalembo, 33, of Atlanta, Georgia was sentenced by Judge Ray to four years and two months in prison to be followed by two years of supervised release, and he ordered Kalembo to pay $298,008.71 in restitution.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations, and the United States Postal Inspection Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Nathan P. Kitchens, Chief of the Public Integrity and Special Matters Section, Sarah E. Klapman, and Lauren T. Macon are prosecuting the case.