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Shoreview man charged with filing fraudulent tax returns, failure to pay taxes
A Shoreview resident who runs a tax preparation business in St. Paul was charged with 16 tax-related offenses, including eight counts of filing a false or fraudulent property tax refund statement, four counts of filing a false or fraudulent tax return and four counts of failure to pay taxes.
Olufemi Augustine Badejo, 43, allegedly redirected some $20,000 worth of his clients’ tax returns into his own accounts by filing tax returns in their names and forging their signatures on at least 28 returns, successfully receiving the refund at least 24 times.
Badejo will appear in Ramsey County district court August 20. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years, a $10,000 fine or both. No one answered the door at Badejo’s business for comment.
“I am very pleased that we are able to bring forward criminal charges against this defendant, whose fraudulent scheme enriched himself at the expense of his clients and the public,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said.
“Unfortunately, financial fraud is growing in scope, complexity and creativity. Special credit should be given to the two investigative agencies, the FBI and the Minnesota Department of Revenue, who were able to stop the alleged criminal conduct and bring forward this investigation for prosecution by our newly expanded Financial Fraud Unit in the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office,” Choi said
The FBI opened an investigation into Badejo, who runs a tax preparation business called New Horizon Investments at 2147 University Ave., in May of 2012, after receiving reports that he was filing tax returns in other peoples’ names without their knowledge, forging their signatures and sending their tax return money to his own bank account, according to the criminal complaint.
The investigation found that between July 2008 and Sept. 2011, Badejo allegedly sent off 28 property tax refund statements, receiving money in return for 24 of them. The returns for four of the statements were not given to Badejo because of the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s revenue recapture, which flagged the returns to be used to pay taxes owed by the individuals under whose names Badejo filed.
A detailed description of the eight counts of filing a false or fraudulent property tax refund statement allegedly shows Badejo filing returns using the names of multiple individuals throughout the four year time frame. In three consecutive years, he used one person’s information to garner $2,633; over two years, he used another person’s information to a tune of $1,766.
All said, from actions related to the eight counts, Badejo allegedly received $6,011. In some instances, Badejo forged landlords’ signatures on certificates of rent paid to accompany the property tax refund statements.
The remaining eight counts--four counts of filing a false or fraudulent tax return and four counts of failure to pay taxes--stem from Badejo’s alleged ill-gotten gains and their would-be impact on the personal tax returns he filed between 2008 and 2011.
According to the complaint, cver that four-year period, the false or fraudulent property tax return statements Badejo allegedly filed earned him $18,176, which is being considered as unreported income rendering his own tax returns as fraudulent in the eyes of the law.
According to adjustments to those returns and Badejo’s property tax returns, he allegedly owes $2,551 in taxes to the state, according to the criminal complaint.
Mike Munzenrider can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-748-7824. Follow him on Twitter @mmunzenrider.