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Gang of four faces trial over US tax scam hack

Four men with links to Nigeria have been arrested in Europe and face extradition to the US to face charges of wire fraud, after allegedly hacking computer servers so they could file false tax return claims, the Department of Justice (DoJ) says.

Nigerian nationals Akinola Taylor, Olakunle Oyebanjo, and Kazeem Olanrewaju Runsewe, along with UK citizen Olayemi Adafin, were recently apprehended in London and Malmo, Sweden, and face up to 20 years in a US federal prison if extradited and convicted.

The DoJ made the announcement after documents were unsealed in a Florida court accusing the four men of conspiring to steal American taxpayers’ money.

Taylor and Runsewe allegedly hacked into US business computers to steal personally identifying information from American residents so they could file bogus Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax return forms. Adafin and Oyebano are accused of helping them collect the fraud proceeds using debit cards and bank accounts under their control.

The former pair used a dark web forum called xDedic Marketplace to gain unauthorized access to the computer servers.

“xDedic Marketplace [...] operated for years and was used to sell access to compromised computers worldwide and personally identifiable information of US residents,” said the DoJ. “The administrators strategically maintained servers all over the world to facilitate the operation of the website.”

xDedic was taken down by the IRS and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), who both also prosecuted the case against the four men with assistance from the authorities in the UK and Sweden.

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