A Las Vegas man pleaded guilty Wednesday to federal charges of identity theft and wire fraud after he was arrested in 2012 with more than $200,000 in fraudulent tax refunds, the Department of Justice said.
Josiah Ntekume pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, theft of government property and access device fraud, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas.
When Ntekume was arrested on March 12, 2012, he was carrying a backpack with about 250 prepaid debit cards in other people’s names, with more than $200,000 in fraudulent tax refunds loaded onto the cards, the statement said. He also had lists of stolen identities for nearly 200 people that were used to file false tax returns or to establish other prepaid debit cards.
Ntekume’s co-conspirators, who were not identified in the statement, gave him names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers to establish the prepaid debit card accounts.
Sentencing for the defendant is scheduled for March 4. He faces a mandatory minimum prison term of two years for aggravated identity theft.