A 33-year-old citizen of Nigeria who is in the United States on an expired visa has been arrested, accused of a tax form phishing scandal that impacted 1,600 school employees in Glastonbury and federal officials said the ongoing investigation is also into a scheme that targeted Groton public schools.
Daniel Adekunle Ojo was arrested Thursday at his North Carolina home and charged with fraud and identity theft.
Special agents from the FBI’s cybercrime squad in New Haven and the IRS made the arrest amid investigating “phishing” emails that were sent to various school districts in Connecticut earlier this year.
In February, an employee of the Glastonbury Public Schools received an email that appeared to be sent from a school official requesting W-2 tax information for all employees of the school system.
The person who received the email responded with W-2 information for approximately 1,600 Glastonbury Public Schools employees and later learned that the school official did not send the request.
The superintendent of Glastonbury schools said the employee who sent the email no longer works for the school system.
Around 122 suspicious 1040 forms were filed electronically with the IRS in the names of victims of the Glastonbury phishing scheme and claimed $596,897 in tax refunds.
About six of the returns were processed and $36,926 was electronically deposited into various bank accounts, according to federal authorities.
The school system provided two years of free credit monitoring to staff and faculty after learning about the breach.
Federal officials said Ojo used aol.com and gmail.com email accounts involved in a phishing scheme to obtain the Glastonbury school system employees’ personal identifying information and use it for personal gain.
Officials said the ongoing investigation also includes phishing incidents that victimized the Groton Public Schools and the Bloomington Independent School District in Bloomington, Minnesota.
The phishing incident targeting the Groton Public Schools happened in March and a school system employee emailed copies of W-2 information for around 1,300 employees.
Around 66 suspicious 1040 IRS forms were filed electronically, claiming $364,188 in tax refunds, but they were flagged as part of an identity theft scheme so no money was sent, federal officials said.
In March, Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents issued a warning about this type of scam to alert staff and said several other school districts received emails but staff recognized the scam and did not respond.
Ojo entered the United States on a visitor’s visa on May 23, 2016 to visit family in New York and he failed to leave on June 8, 2016, as scheduled, according to federal authorities.