By: Hillary Ojeda
A woman pleaded guilty to money laundering charges involving more than $200,000 after she submitted false tax returns using University of Iowa employees’ data, on Oct. 11 in Davenport.
Nadine Nzuega Robinson entered into a plea agreement at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
She waived her right to a jury trial and the district court will decide the verdict on or at the date of sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 22, 2019, according to court documents.
Starting in 2013, or earlier, Robinson and her partner Patrick Koloko opened a check cashing business in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. Located in Doralville, the name of the business was Azalea USA, LLC and Robinson was identified as the CEO and 85 percent owner, according to court documents.
Robinson agreed with Koloko and others to carry out illegal financial transactions to make a profit and hide unlawful wire and mail fraud.
Then, in early 2015, Robinson created checking accounts at Bank of America in Georgia under the name of Azalea.
Court documents say in late February and early March of 2015, false tax returns for tax year 2014 were being submitted electronically to the Internal Revenue Service using the names, addresses, occupations and social security numbers of University of Iowa employees.
The court documents did not detail how that data was acquired by Robinson or others.
Following an investigation, it was found that the suspects committed wire fraud and mail fraud, according to court documents. The stolen identities were used to apply for state and federal income tax returns. The fraudsters also provided debit card account numbers for the IRS to authorize payment of the returns to be distributed onto the debit cards.
The IRS processed the fraudulent returns leading to U.S. government money being transferred electronically onto those debit cards.
The debit cards were then used to buy hundreds of money orders that were converted to cash in the Atlanta, Georgia area. False payee names were used and the cash was distributed to Robinson and other criminal companions.
Court documents say hundreds of money orders obtained through similar means continued to be deposited by Robinson into the Azalea accounts.
Robinson deposited money orders totaling $215,464 from fraudulent tax returns using University of Iowa employees data, according to Azalea-Bank of America accounts records from March and April of 2015.
If convicted, Robinson faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $500,000.
Court documents show Robinson was originally arrested on Oct. 12 last year in Atlanta, Georgia, before a court order moved her case to the United States District Court Southern District of Iowa in Davenport.