A Zimbabwean Sebastian Matipano was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison in Texas in the United States last week and ordered to pay nearly $1 7 million for false, fictitious or fraudulent claims.
Matipano used stolen identity information to file more than 250 false tax returns, which resulted in a $1.3 million loss to the US treasury.
He obtained Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs) in the names of other individuals and used these EFINs to file more than 250 individual tax returns and requested more than $1.5 million in refund anticipation loans. As a result, the IRS suffered a loss of more than $1.3 million.
Despite an active warrant for his arrest, Matipano was able to leave the U.S. and travel to Zimbabwe in January 2011. Following his arrest at a traffic stop in Canton, Texas in March, Matipano made telephone calls to associates directing them to transfer approximately $400 000 to Zimbabwe and discussing purchasing airline tickets.
When Matipano was arrested, he was in possession of 75 stored value cards, totalling approximately $53 461 and $6 452 in cash, two laptop computers and a flash drive. An additional $840 in cash was later found in the rental car he was driving.