A 25-year-old man from Cincinnati was sentenced on Thursday for his role in a scheme to obtain fraudulent tax refunds.
Tawanda Marimbire is accused of using stolen identities to file fraudulent income tax returns and then steal the fraudulent tax refunds. Marimbire committed the crimes along with a large ring of people in the Cincinnati community, according to officials. The ring obtained at least $5 million in fraudulent refunds.
Four people connected to the ring fled to Zimbabwe in 2012 after government agents executed a search that yielded their luxury cars and $1 million in cash. Marimbire was arrested days after the search when he attempted to cross the Canadian border.
Authorities said members of the ring obtained the thousands of stolen identities through illicit online forums and accomplices. Most of the stolen funds were laundered and sent to Zimbabwe.
Tawanda Marimbire pleaded guilty on January 15, 2013 to one count of wire fraud. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison by Chief U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott.
The investigation in to the fraud is ongoing and four other people have been indicted in connection to the ring.