eCrimeBytes S 1 Ep 15: The Fake Prisoner Charity Indigent Inmates

Between 2009-2012 there was a prisoner charity called “indigent Inmates” who’s stated purpose was to help inmates with the court cases and find religion. Well, that was on paper. In reality, Indigent Inmates stole over 13,000 inmates’ personally identifiable information (PII) and then filed 2,000 fraudulent tax returns with the IRS in their names. Behind Indigent Inmates was Qadir Shabazz and his 4 wives. Together they attempted steal $12 million in tax refunds! Sit back and enjoy this week’s episode of eCrimeBytes!

Note that I first discussed this case back in:

Founder Of Fake Prisoner Charity Sentenced For Stealing Over $12M In Tax Refunds Using Prisoner Identities

Further Reading:

#ecrimebytes #electronic #truecrime #podcast #inmate #charity #pii #fraud #humor #funny #comedy


0:00 Case Details
5:51 Music
6:22 Meet “Indigent Inmates”, A “Charity” For Inmates
9:26 How Effective Was Indigent Inmates?
10:59 So Why Is An Inmate Charity A Bad Thing?
16:50 Shabazz’s Four Wives
18:15 How Was Indigent Inmates Brought Down?
19:47 Dion McBride Fingers Qadir Shabazz
21:56 The Search Warrants
30:26 Shabazz Goes To Trial
33:02 Shabazz Is Sentenced
37:14 Conclusions
42:20 How To Reach Us


[00:00:00] Keith: Hey, welcome back to eCrimeBytes. This is season one, episode 15, the Fake prisoner charity called Indigent Inmates, and this is a pretty interesting case. When I first started reading this, I first thought, oh, it’s, bad guys picking on bad guys. But just the scale of this whole operation that occurs is just mind blowing.

[00:00:38] So it was definitely worth making into an episode.

[00:00:43] Seth: Yeah, this one struck me for this simplicity of it, but also some mixed emotions. Cause I think initially we always try to look at who are the victims here? And here the victims are prison inmates, which I guess generally makes for a less sympathetic victim.

[00:00:56] But I also thought the the result of this case was a bit striking given comparatively what we’ve seen for other cyber crimes. So we’ll get into that. But th this one’s interesting. This is a second instance, I believe within the last couple episodes where we’ve focused on Filing fraudulent tax returns as a means of the crime.

[00:01:14] But this one was fairly unique and frankly at a, specific perspective fairly ingenious. I don’t know how we get how far deep we get into how the bad guys caught him other than looks like, the old adage of just follow the money here, which we’ll get into as well.

[00:01:30] Keith: Yeah. Hey, let me go ahead and use our banners.

[00:01:34] I forgot to do this on our last episode. Boom. Case details. All right, so let’s go ahead and get started with our case details that we we do at every beginning of every episode here, and I’ll go ahead and take the technology. There’s nothing, if you’ve listened to our past episodes, we’re not introducing anything new here from a technology standpoint.

[00:01:55] What we’re introducing is how this technology is exploited. The technology is just personally identifiable information. Just PII, if you hear us say those letters, and the other one is electronic tax filing. So what you’re gonna see is by combining, and I’ll go ahead and take the crime because I’ve already led into it, Seth.

[00:02:14] But the the technology by combining the PII and the electronic tax filing, we’re gonna see that the crime is basically just ID theft, and then with that ID information filing a bunch of IRS tax returns to try to get actual money out of the crime at the end of the day. And so do you wanna tell us about who did this?

[00:02:36] Seth: Yeah. So we’ll get to the gentleman’s name cuz he is got a bunch of AKAs, also known as, but this person you’ll hear his name is Qadir Shabazz. He did set up a very interesting fake prison charity. We’ll explain what that was meant to be owner and apparently this gentleman was also quite a polygamist.

[00:02:54] And had not one, not two, not three, but four wives, and they were directly involved, if not, being used to perpetuate the crime. Keith, who were the victims here.

[00:03:05] Keith: All right. So when I sat down and I said, who are the victims here? There’s a few. There’s two directly and one indirectly. So the two that I thought of that were direct victims were the inmates themselves, because they were the ones that.

[00:03:22] Their PII was stolen and used to file these fraudulent tax returns. And no matter how you feel about inmates they’re in custody and even though they’re in custody.

[00:03:34] Using them as victims is, they’re still victims. If you steal their PII, they’re still victims. So no matter how you feel about somebody in a prison, you still have to look at this class, this group that we’re talking about as the victims. In this case now, the IRS was a victim because they had to investigate and pay out fraudulent tax filings.

[00:03:57] And taxpayers indirectly because when we’re paying into taxes, we have to pay more money for, to cover the fraud like that we’re seeing in these cases.

[00:04:08] Seth: Yeah, I would add maybe the US government, cuz ultimately that’s, the paying entity behind the irs. Why this case? So really two, two notes.

[00:04:16] First one, give credit to Dr. Keith here. Criminal creativity knows no bounds. Who would’ve thought that? If you’re gonna take advantage of a specific marginalized group, why not criminals? Who cares, right? And yeah, it was a very ingenious crime that I’m not sure how long he got away with it for.

[00:04:33] And then of course, you have a scenario of just this is predators taking advantage of other predators. I question that. We don’t know if the prisoners, there was a lot of them, we’ll get to the numbers if they were just, not every prisoner is a terrible, violent cri criminal. Some of them are victims of circumstance and so forth.

[00:04:49] That’s a separate conversation ethically. So I’m not sure I fully agree with that one. But with that, I guess let’s get into the case. It’s a good one.

[00:04:57] Keith: Yeah, and I wrote the word predators, but I, you could probably substitute that with bad guy or anything else in there. My, my point is that these cases where bad guys, target bad guys, I find very interesting because a lot of times you don’t see those written about a lot of times in the news.

[00:05:15] So we try to have episodes like this about ’em. Yep. So with that, sit back and we will get right into this. We actually have no updates this week, so we’ll just go ahead and get right into this right after we give you our intro.

[00:05:27] Hey, welcome back to eCrimeBytes season one, episode 15. We are talking about an inmate, and I’m gonna use air quotes here, charity called Indigent Inmate. And this is a pretty interesting electronic crime scheme that I ran into in the news. And when I started doing the research for it, it just got deeper and I said this thing, this has gotta become an episode.

[00:06:13] And here we are. So with that, let me go ahead and just get into the meat of our subject. So there’s this charity and literally its name is Indigent Inmate. This business, this quote unquote charity, is incorporated in Georgia would distribute literature and applications, promising assistance to inmates in jails and prisons across the us, and also gave away religious materials.

[00:06:40] So you can imagine being in prison, you don’t. Have probably a lot of communication with the outside world. You got a lot of time on your hands, obviously you need something to do. And there’s these brochures coming in that says, Hey, contact us for, help in your legal case. Or if you’re looking for religious guidance all types of things that you would think a population like convicts and those awaiting trial in, in, in prison and in jails, w would sound very enticing, right?

[00:07:14] Like you would want somebody to help you on your legal case. So this is, quote unquote, a charity for prisoners. And it existed from 2009 to 2012. About three years, give or take. Now the person behind this.

[00:07:28] Seth: Until he was busted, go ahead. Until they were busted.

[00:07:32] Keith: Now the person behind this business, and as soon as you start getting into AKAs, I’m like, all right, the story’s getting great because I read the first few documents and his name, the best I can tell his real name is Qadir Shaba, spelled K A D I R Q a, my bad.

[00:07:48] Q A D I R S H A B A Z Z. Now, his AKA in the court paperwork was also D’Angelo Moore, but pretty much everywhere once they established a AKA, they refer to him as Shabazz, and that’s what we’ll

[00:08:07] Seth: try to refer him as. It was either D’Angelo Moore or a D’Angelo Mohamed, and I like that there’s a hard contrast between Qadir Shabazz, right?

[00:08:14] Clearly a Middle Eastern name, and D’Angelo Moore clearly. Not. And then he had an in between version of Angelo Muhammad. Similar to the old adage, never shoe pool against somebody whose middle name is a city or first name is a city, whatever it is. Anyone with an a k a possibly suspect? So we know that Qadir also had a set offices across the us but mainly in Georgia, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.

[00:08:40] That’s not particularly relevant here. All right, Keith, let’s do, and one thing I’m

[00:08:44] Keith: gonna say is we usually look for pictures of people, and I try pretty hard and I try to make sure within 99.99999%, that it is this person. I try to find news articles. I try to find a couple of things that will reference it.

[00:09:00] So I could tell that the person is the person. I did that search in this case, and I could not find Mr. Shabazz’s picture that I could definitely attribute to him. We also looked right before we started recording again, also couldn’t find pictures, so unfortunately I don’t have the picture to show you if you’re on the video side that we usually show you at about this point of our podcast.

[00:09:20] Seth: Yeah, anyone that has a picture of him, by the way, please send it to us. That way we can find a, literally associate a face with the name. So how effective was indigent inmate? This is interesting. Over 13,000 inmates, or applicants responded for prisoner benefits. So this was not a small operation.

[00:09:39] And then you have to wonder, Keith, how much actual charitable work did they really do? Because I guess think about it, if you’re an inmate, you see a flyer for this, or I’m not sure how much access to a computer inmates get these days, but let’s just say they saw, a thing about it in, on, on YouTube or what have you, and they, threw in a application, right?

[00:09:57] What do they care? Either they hear from them and maybe they get a couple extra books or that Religious symbol they were looking for, whether it’s a cross or za to put on their their cell. I don’t know. But 13,000 applicants is not that small, especially for an actual, not real charity.

[00:10:14] So just everyone has an idea of what kind of volume we’re talking about here. And even if you

[00:10:19] Keith: say you get a. 25% response rate. Imagine how many people they probably touched, if we had 13,000 people actually filled something out and sent it to them, the amount of people that saw their literature, and that was, in, I guess in the internet world, the impressions, that saw their material.

[00:10:39] And probably this 13,000, which is a big population still is probably a very small chunk of who actually saw the material because they took the time to sit down and actually respond to it for some type of prisoner benefits. And little

[00:10:53] Seth: did they know this was gonna actually cause a big uproar. As part of the application, this is the catch here.

[00:10:59] This is how the crime was perpetuated. To apply, the inmates had to provide their name, their social security number, their date of birth, and generally other pii. So for those of you who are unaware, there was lots of pii. Personally identifiable information. This is a big deal all over the world, especially in Europe, where those things are heavily regulated.

[00:11:19] But basically anything that, you know, either by itself or in combination with another bit of PII could really mend, lend itself to attributing personal identification to a person. Obviously, name and address are easy, but social security number and various other things are very popular. So far this seems somewhat legit, right?

[00:11:38] I’m sure that. You’ve all had to provide some information directly to get access to a newsletter or to buy something. So none of this should be terribly surprising. I’m always a little sketched out when I have to get my social security number, but if you’re in prison, who cares?

[00:11:53] Keith: Yeah. So you can imagine now we have 13,000 people sending this very, This personally identifiable information, this is very sensitive information that they’re sending. So now they have at least 13,000 ish chunks of this information. And you gotta say, what did Shabazz do with this PII? I guess maybe he was being nice, but he decided to only file 2000 false and fraudulent tax returns in inmate names, and it was electronic filing in case you were curious.

[00:12:28] The 2000 returns that. So basically when, if you’re outside the US at the end of the year, you basically, you go to the, you square up with the government and you say, I either owe you some money or you owe me some money because either I overpaid or underpaid. And what’s happening here is he’s going to the government in these inmates names fraudulently, and he’s saying, I overpaid you.

[00:12:54] You owe me money. And so over 2000 returns directed over $12 million in refunds. And one of the ways you can get refunds is through prepaid cards, like prepaid credit cards and so forth where you can pretty much use anywhere. And I, if you do the math on that’s about $6,000 per refund on average.

[00:13:17] So that’s a hefty refund, especially if you look at people that probably have been incarcerated. For some time. So you wonder how he came about those

[00:13:29] Seth: numbers. But what struck me, Keith, wasn’t so much, 12 million is a lot of money to steal, but oh two, 2000 tax returns. I have to do my own tax returns.

[00:13:39] I’ve, I used to be a tax attorney. I’ve done some tax returns for some friends. It’s not exactly a thing you do in 15 minutes, right? Especially if you’re claiming a refund, right? You have to fill out all your income. You have to fill out, get all your credits and. It’s, a couple hours of work at the minimum, even if you’re an expert on it.

[00:13:55] So there were lots of hours spent and from what we understand, this is a fairly small operation. I don’t know, if our court documents indicate that he had a team of people working for him, but I think it was fairly narrow. So almost tipped my hat to Mr. Shabazz and his four wives will get into that to be able to process that many tax returns.

[00:14:15] That’s a lot.

[00:14:17] Keith: I can’t do any projects with my wife, man. So it was like, if I had to work, we would never get anything done cuz we’d be arguing or she’d wanna do it her way, I’d wanna do it my way. Yeah. And he works with four wives and filed 2000 tax returns and tried to claim 12 million.

[00:14:32] That’s pretty incredible.

[00:14:34] Seth: It is. So I think it’s worth kind of reading here a little bit from the court documents because it gives a really nice flavor for how he did this. So I’ll read the first page and then Jones, you can take it from there. So the court documents indicate that members of this conspiracy or indigent inmate or Mr. Shabazz’s Criminal enterprise here. Then use the personally personal identifying information. There’s your PII to file a fraudulent income tax return seeking tax refunds. And they formed corporations in the names of applicants to allow the conspirators to access the funds. So rather than just take a direct refund, they actually would form a specific kind of legal entity to do this, which takes more time.

[00:15:13] So for example, Shabazz or one of his co-conspirators created a corporation. The name of William Malone Inc. Created the William Malone Inc. Account, and then deposited fraudulently obtained, tax refund check issued to William Malone, an indigent inmate applicant. Into that account and then wrote a check drawn on that account to Shabazz.

[00:15:32] That’s the whole, if you follow the money, eventually you’ll figure out who the bad guys are. Investigators also found a debit card for the account in Shabazz’s Wallet. So similarly, a corporation was created in the name of another indigent inmate applicant, someone named Sandra Oyawusi. And investigators found a debit card for that account in another one of Shabazz’s wallet.

[00:15:52] So this guy wasn’t even really trying to hide the fact that he was using essentially debit cards, in the name of these corporations, which was in the name of these indigent inmate, inmate applicants directly to basically fund his lifestyle. He wasn’t even really hiding it that well follow the money.

[00:16:10] Keith: Maybe the, remember when I said it was 6,000 per refund? Maybe that is so high because of all this overhead that we’re talking about of having to start corporations and doing 2000 tax returns and so forth. Cuz it sounds like a lot of work went into each one of these things.

[00:16:30] Seth: It’s not expensive to file, create a C Corp or some kind of entity.

[00:16:34] I think it’s, a coup, maybe 50 bucks, a hundred bucks to do it. Maybe that’s gone up. There’s a simple way to do it though. You can do it all online, actually. You’d be shocked at how easy it is. If he got 6,000 per return and it took him two hours and 50 bucks to file it and create a C Corp, it’s a pretty good return there on his investment until they got busted.

[00:16:52] Keith: Yeah, I sounds like he had plenty of help because the interesting fact is, and we’ve already talked about this a couple times, but he had four wives. Four, and I could tell that at least two of them officially worked for him because one was Leslie Scott, a k, a, right there you gotta be, oh, Leslie’s suspect.

[00:17:08] Cuz she has an a k a, because now she’s Leslie Shabazz, the c e o, and then you have Sheena Shabazz, who’s a manager. And then I saw in the court paperwork that Qadir Shabazz, the gentleman that we’re talking about, was present and performed the day-to-day duties. And, I have to stop again and think about it.

[00:17:28] It’s like working with Andrea would be probably way more difficult on her than it would be at me. And we would end up in a fistfight by the end. We don’t even share bathrooms anymore. Seth. Like I have this tiny little office bathroom that I use with my tiny little office shower. That doesn’t interfere with her bathroom off of our master bedroom anymore.

[00:17:47] It’s like I just, I sl, I’m her attic troll. I just slink off in the morning and. Get ready for work and work all day and then come back down in the evening. It’s actually wonderful. Working with your spouse, could you work with your

[00:17:57] Seth: spouse? No. I couldn’t. It’s funny, actually, several people at the company I work for have spousal, their spouses work there as well, and some of them, they commute together and they have lunch together and I’m like, yeah, that’s not gonna work for me.

[00:18:12] Not remotely. Yeah.

[00:18:16] Keith: All right, so let’s talk a little bit about, we’ve talked about what Shabazz has done, and it’s not super complicated. We don’t have a lot of depth on that because it’s just getting PII filing these saying it’s all just basically documentation and then waiting for prepaid cards. So let’s get into how was he caught.

[00:18:36] So there is a Pennsylvania address attached to one of the tax returns. So if you’re outside the us, basically imagine. And I’ll pause for a second, Seth. I looked at least our audio listeners and our audio listeners. I would say we’re 20 to 25% overseas. So that’s why I try to make these little stops.

[00:18:57] If you’re in the US we can wonder why we make these stops. And I explain to these things. This is why, is because we have quite a few listeners that aren’t in the us. So for the listeners, not in the us, imagine at the end of the day, Or end of the year, you tell, you square up with the government and you say, Hey, I overpaid you by a thousand dollars and you owe me that thousand dollars back.

[00:19:19] And the government being the government, usually on first face value will trust you and say, okay, where do you want me to send it? And you usually associate some kind of address with it. Now there’s this Pennsylvania address that was used in some of the fraudulent returns, so that being a lead. The investigators, the agents started investigating it and they located at this point, when they looked at that address, they located a person named Dion McBride.

[00:19:47] And Dion McBride ended up being associate of Qadir Shabazz. Now, of course, what happens is at some point the investigators go and they interview McBride and they go, Hey, got some strange irs returns coming to this address. Do you know anything? You got a clue on what’s going on here. And McBride, basically, from what I could tell in the court paperwork was like, ah, it’s not me.

[00:20:15] It’s all it’s all this guy Qadir Shabazz. So immediately it looked like he was pointing fingers and says, this is Shabazz and this is how Shabazz is caught. And it’s funny because this is Seth we should keep like a chart for every case that we go through on how many people fall after the first person rolls over because it’s like, Yeah, it’s this point in these cases where, this is where the documentation really starts to pick up, and I can start to tell you a lot more details because then people like McBride starts talking about Shabazz and what happens in the case and so forth.

[00:20:46] So no honor

[00:20:47] Seth: amongst it gets pretty I also wanted to know, like I. Out of 2000 tax returns, and I know it was over like several years, but still, how many of those returns used the same PA address? So there’s five people in my family. My kids have summer jobs this year that I think they might actually have to file returns this year.

[00:21:03] So they might be my two older sons, so it could be up to four tax returns. My wife and I filed jointly, but not everybody does. You could file, but I’m saying at one point, if you’re more than like 8, 9, 10, The IRS might be like, why are there so many people filing from this address? That might, and again, I don’t know.

[00:21:20] Maybe in other words, if I was gonna commit the crime, I might take the time to scope out hundreds and hundreds of PO boxes and only use ’em sporadically so that there was less of a pattern to it. That’s just me. I’m not a criminal. But I don’t know, if Mr. Shabazz or his four wives got lazy or if they just ran out of, addresses to use.

[00:21:39] But it, it’s an interesting bit of a kit to think about, how did the what triggered, other than maybe there was no income associated with these returns, thus you can’t have a refund without income. That’s a separate, I know that inmates can earn some money, but I’m pretty sure it’s really de minimus.

[00:21:54] But anyway let’s move on.

[00:21:57] So

[00:21:57] Keith: once they knew it was Shabazz, at this point, they’re able to execute. They have probable calls and they can execute a search warrant at one of Shabazz’s properties. So during this search, they, they don’t obviously announce themselves until they get there, right? So it’s not like he knows that they’re gonna show up.

[00:22:17] So when they show up for this search, he’s only there in a t-shirt and boxer shorts. And when an agent allowed him to put on a pair of pants… they, being an agent, they don’t let ’em put on just any pants. They have to check the pockets, make sure there’s no knives or guns or anything like that.

[00:22:33] There’s a bunch of IDs in this, in these pants that he wants to put on. And credit cards. And in addition. And credit cards. And credit cards, yes. IDs and credit cards were found in the pocket now. I’ll bring this up because this is actually an interesting thread. It when I looked at his appeal, this is one of the things he wanted his case thrown out for was the agent shouldn’t have been able to search or find that information in his pants pocket and use it against him.

[00:23:04] Exactly. So

[00:23:05] Seth: he is the one that demanded, he get dressed.

[00:23:08] Keith: Yeah, and I left out a big point here, which is if you didn’t pick up on it these cards and IDs, these are not in his name. So when they go through his pockets and they find, a card for Keith Jones and Seth Eichenholtz and they look at Qadir Shabazz and they’re like, wait a minute here.

[00:23:23] That is suspicious. So why do you have, when they find all this credit cards? Yeah, exactly. So this is not a normal circumstance.

[00:23:31] Seth: No, and there’s an element of this guy was clearly what’s the professional or a legal term, a bit of a douche in that he was very much um, you know, not only, not cooperative obviously, but you know, really trying to be very picky uni with what he thought was approach, approvable or an admissible bit of facts.

[00:23:49] So he gets arrested in his pockets. I need to wear some pants. They’re like, okay, well you’re now introducing that into, I mean, they would’ve searched his house anyway, obviously so, You know, the Fourth Amendment argument he’s making doesn’t really hold any water anyway. Okay, so another search warrant was issued.

[00:24:05] This is for the actual charitable indigent inmates headquarters. So over 20 computers were seized. They found over 90 fraudulent tax returns, and the agents discovered they were here. There were 15 addresses used in his schemes. Remember I said they clearly couldn’t have come all from that Pennsylvania address.

[00:24:22] So looks like of the 90, he was spreading them out across 15 addresses and there were over 2000 fraudulent returns with indigent inmates. PII all filed to one address, so that negates the idea that he was being pretty slick on the different addresses. And of course, that’s a fairly easy thing to flag if you’re the irs.

[00:24:44] Keith: Even in 2009 to 2012, where we don’t have chat G P T and all the crazy stuff that we have in 2023, you would think they would go 2000 tax returns, one address. I gotta look into this, right?

[00:24:59] Seth: For sure.

[00:25:01] Keith: Shabazz was arrested and when he was arrested, what do you think he said?

[00:25:06] He goes, eh, Dion McBride, he’s making me out to be the mastermind of this tax fraud operation. But he’s not Shabazz is saying, I’m not, there’s other people involved in the Pittsburgh area. Take that for what it’s worth, we know about who’s been arrested here, which is Kadir Shaz. There may have been more people working with them.

[00:25:28] If I would’ve saw the names in the court documents, I’d be listing ’em at this point in our episode. But I believe there’s probably more people out there that they haven’t been able to charge, and they probably didn’t

[00:25:38] Seth: bring charges. Yeah I think that it was a fairly big operation.

[00:25:43] Maybe the bulk of the work was done by him and his associates, his four wives, and Mr. McBride. But I guess we just don’t have enough information to delineate that.

[00:25:53] Keith: Yeah, 2000 returns is so mu, so much work. Even code, if I were to code this thing up, With source code and make a computer do a lot of the heavy lifting of creating forms and stuff.

[00:26:04] That’s still a lot of work when you’re doing 2000. Yeah.

[00:26:07] Seth: It’s almost like a deeper, I’d like to know, like how do they generate the income that was associated with these criminals? Unless these criminals had large bank accounts or they were generating large interest amounts on them, I don’t know.

[00:26:18] If you’re incarcerated, it’s hard to earn money. Actively, maybe passively and I get it right, but I’m not, that, that’s still an interesting issue. I’d like to see how they able to get away with getting a refund of $6,000 per person, which means you have to have some meaningful income on that to be able to claim that much of a refund passively

[00:26:36] Keith: you would think.

[00:26:37] Yeah, you would think, and the, when I tried to put my mind around this of, how would I explain this not knowing any more information and just basically speculating, I thought, okay, they got 13,000 people’s information. You gotta imagine that they’re gonna throw away a chunk of it because it’s not gonna be like their target.

[00:26:57] Because maybe their target victim is somebody who’s just come in from the outside who just had a $50,000 a year job or whatever it takes for the IRS to believe that you owe this person $6,000 at the end of the year.

[00:27:14] Maybe that’s why there was a discrepancy in how much PII they grabbed versus how much they filed for. That was just what I thought in my mind. But yeah,

[00:27:24] Seth: I, again, speculation. It’s speculative, but I think that’s fairly accurate. We could do a deeper dive if, for those tax people that are listening, this might be an interesting deeper dive to get to.

[00:27:33] Keith: All right, so we get to an indictment on November 6th, 2013, and there’s 33 counts here. So they just throw the book at Mr. Shabazz here and count one is conspiracy. I think that was conspiracy to commit fraud. I only wrote the word conspiracy, but usually that’s what it is. Counts two through 16 are wire fraud and 17 through 31 are aggravated identity theft, and 22 through 33 are theft of government funds.

[00:28:04] So if I put the Keith thought into this and then you tell me what you think, Seth I, they ding him on the conspiracy, which is typical. They hit ’em on the wire fraud because something must have been transmitted either, electronically, either facts over the internet or something along

[00:28:21] Seth: those lines.

[00:28:21] No, that’s probably the filing of the returns. Yeah.

[00:28:24] Keith: And the counts of seven through 31 aggravated identity theft. And you read that and you’re kinda like, okay, why would it be 17 through 31? And I, from what I recall, usually what they do is they pick a person for each of those counts and they don’t tell you who they are.

[00:28:40] They say it’s initial dm. For instance, an initial LS, for instance, is another victim, and they pick the top handful of victims that they got really good evidence for. So even though we’re talking about 2000 people and 2000 fraudulent returns, they’re only picking a handful of what they really have a lot of really good evidence for.

[00:29:05] And it’s a lot. It’s a lot of counts. It’s what, like 16.

[00:29:07] Seth: And we can assume that the government is, holding back some cards, right? If they, for whatever reason is a technicality or other reason where Mr. Shabazz would get off on these charges. They have 2000 instances of tax returns.

[00:29:20] So why throw it all in one basket, right? If, let’s, judges throw it out, for other legal reasons, they can always go back and get ’em on a different one. As, as long as the facts are a little bit different, and they would, because it’s a different, it’d be a different inmate.

[00:29:32] So anyway, I think there’s an element of that. We also don’t know how many of the people were filed. In multiple years, right? Was it just, inmate Keith Jones in 2010? Or was it inmate Keith Jones, 2009, 10, 11, 12, and so forth? So we don’t know that. I suspect that they probably went with the ones that were airtight.

[00:29:47] Again, that would’ve tied to, I think the data that was associated with you going from when you file a return, you have to file supporting documentation at a minimum, your w2, right? Or if it’s not a w2, 10 99, there are certain documents that have to accompany a tax return, otherwise you’re just throwing numbers on a piece of paper.

[00:30:03] Now I don’t know how much per, Due diligence is done for every return. I’m pretty sure it’s de minimus for the lower value returns. The IRS will audit anybody and it sometimes it is random. I know the last couple years they’ve had issues with resources, but this has gone back 10 years.

[00:30:16] And again, we don’t, a lot we don’t know, but we do know that this indictment came down and we do know what the sentencing was or what. I think there was a plea. Oh no, actually this went to trial, didn’t it? Yeah, He went to trial on this. So most of our cases end in a plea. This one went to trial. So this was a jury trial for six days in January of 2016.

[00:30:38] So on the second day of trial, Shabazz objected to wearing his prison clothes. So he entered the courtroom in his prison jumpsuit and explained to the district court that he was wearing the jumpsuit because the marshals had not allowed him to take his legal work with him at the end of the previous day of trial.

[00:30:55] I’m not sure what that has to do with what clothes he was wearing, other than, I guess he was still wearing his jumpsuit. So he stated, I can’t take my legal work with me because I am in jail. So why I come in here in front, like I’m not sure exactly what he was referring to. At the end of the day, he was pissed off.

[00:31:10] He had to wear his jumpsuit. And the judge agreed and said, you’re right. It might look bad in front of the jury that you’re wearing your prison jumpsuit. It might give them a presumption of guilt. And they offered him the opportunity to not wear his prison attire and he was like, nah, that’s fine. I’ll just wear it.

[00:31:27] That’s really the only, and Shabazz’s counsel didn’t even object. They were done with this person as their client. So that’s really, I think, just an interesting sidebar on this case at the end of the day. Yeah. Sweet. What do we find out, Keith?

[00:31:40] Keith: You have everybody telling this guy don’t do this, man, don’t wear your prison jumpsuit.

[00:31:45] Don’t wear your prison jumpsuit. Yeah. And then, to be the asshole, he wears a prison jumpsuit and then later he is oh my God, I can’t believe you guys let me wear my prison jumpsuit in the court. And wants to appeal on it. It’s it’s insane.

[00:31:57] Seth: Yeah. Like I said, bit of a douche.

[00:31:59] Clearly. A bit of a douche.

[00:32:02] Keith: We fast forward a little bit. It’s now January 26 16 at the end of the trial, and the jury finds Shabazz guilty. He was found guilty on counts one, counts two through 16 counts 17 through 31. They got him in every 32 through 36.

[00:32:22] Seth: They got him on the whole, and you’re probably wondering, This is why, I’m sorry to interrupt you, Keith.

[00:32:26] This is why people tend to not go to trial. Why most cases end in a plea agreement. Because if you get the wrong jury, they are gonna get you on every, now, not every jury gets you on everything, but it’s the risk you run. It’s basically, a lot of people tell you if you go to a jury, it’s all or nothing.

[00:32:40] You might be found innocent or not guilty rather, or they might get you on every fucking charge. And that’s what they did here.

[00:32:47] Keith: Yeah. And that was my point in reading ’em out is they spared this guy nothing. They gave, they found him guilty on everything. And guess what? His sentencing does not get any better for this guy either.

[00:33:00] Do you wanna go through this one or do you want me to hit it?

[00:33:03] Seth: All right, let’s go through it. So imprisonment essentially, I won’t bury the lead here. This is in early January of 2017. Mr. Shabas got 23 years, which is definitely on the high side of what we’ve seen in all 15 episodes of our show.

[00:33:19] We know that he got 60 months for the first count of conspiracy. He got 193 months for counts two through 16 on the aggravated ID theft. He got, let’s see here, 24 months on count, 17 through 31, I remember what that one was. And then he got another 120 months for the I guess ripping off the IRS.

[00:33:44] So it was a total of 277 months, but some of them are concurrent and some of them are consecutive. Concurrent means that you don’t have to serve them one after the other. You can double them up, but consecutive does mean that you have to serve one after the other. So it ended up being over 23 years.

[00:34:01] Which I just found top of my mind. Interesting because ultimately the only real victim here was the US government. They have lots of money. The prisoners were still in prison, right? It didn’t really impact their day to day. I’m not trying to make light of his crime. I’m just comparing it to other cases we’ve seen where there was definitely a cyber element to it where.

[00:34:20] It involved physical violence to people blowing up people’s houses and stuff like that. And the criminal sentencing was much, much lower, although I guess there were pleas involved in that. So let’s this be a lesson to you. Keith, what are your thoughts on the sentencing?

[00:34:33] Keith: Hi side. It was it was high, but it also, what he, this like his crime scaled.

[00:34:41] It was thousands and thousands of people, I am not surprised, but it is on the high side. And his supervised release, once he gets out in 23 years, his supervised release seems normal. That was your usual three years of supervised release. He’s got that going for him. But then I started looking at his amount of restitution.

[00:35:04] So yeah, this was this interesting. So according to the judgment paperwork, he’s got to pay the i r s, almost 1.7 million. It’s 1.680. And $299 and 0 cents. If you’re curious. It’s it’s a lot. What was his take? We said it was 12 million early. He requested 12

[00:35:29] Seth: million earlier. We don’t know that he had to return that 12 million or how much of it he spent.

[00:35:34] So let’s just say the guy is a master criminal and was able to sock away enough of that 12 million in various accounts the us government couldn’t touch. At least maybe you could think maybe when he gets in 23 years, he has a few dollars to retire on. So we don’t know that. We don’t know if he was able or forced to.

[00:35:50] I’m sure that if he had any money to surrender, the government would’ve made him surrender it. And then I always find it interesting when somebody who, that the only means clearly of making money was their criminal enterprise, then has to pay back, another not a small amount of money one and a half million dollars.

[00:36:05] I don’t know how they’re gonna do that, but, We don’t have that level of detail, but I did find it interesting. I would find it interesting rather to know, wait a second. Is that on top of the 12 million? He is gotta give back. Assuming he spent some of that money, we don’t know if he was, living a lavish lifestyle with cars and boats and homes and stuff like that, or if he was just socking it away.

[00:36:24] We don’t really have that level of detail, but I would encourage our viewers to let us know if you have any details on that.

[00:36:30] Keith: Yeah. And one last little blip on the radar is I saw in 2018, he tried to appeal, and that’s why we knew about the whole pants scenario earlier, where he showed up in his they searched his house or searched his residence and he had T-shirts and boxers on.

[00:36:47] Yeah. And he put his pants on and the pants had the id. This. It came up in this appeal and that’s why,

[00:36:53] Seth: That was the means. We knew about that. Was that It was, yeah. There was false there was evidence that should have been, I guess they call it Fruit of the Poisonous tree, fall Fourth Amendment violations.

[00:37:01] But clearly the court didn’t agree. They shut that down.

[00:37:04] Keith: Yep. They said, Nope, nope. You’re still convicted and your sentence still sticks. Yes. So with that’s it. He’s in prison, so we get to our conclusion for a while now.

[00:37:15] Seth: He’ll be in prison for another 20 years. For

[00:37:18] Keith: quite a while. Yes. So what was our conclusion on this one?

[00:37:22] First if you’re a cyber, if you’re watching Seth and I, because you know us from our cybersecurity work, this is probably, you’re probably going wise even saying this, but my first bullet is you can’t even trust charities. And I say this for people like my grandparents who would just see a charity and say, Charity must be good, right?

[00:37:46] So in that respect, you gotta look at it from a self-defense aspect of that’s why I’m bringing this point up. But here, just you would think that someplace that would be giving out, brochures to find religion and so forth would be, have your best interest in heart. And in this case they just clearly do not, they’re just trying to monetize you.

[00:38:09] Seth: My understanding from a tax perspective, certainly charitables are the most abused type of entity, right? Some of you may know whatever, your political affiliation, and I’m not making a political statement, Donald Trump’s world has been consistently under criminal investigation for.

[00:38:26] Misuse of, the charitable name, in terms of funneling money into a legitimate business, you’re not supposed to do that. And there are certain charities that are constantly being investigated cuz they tend to pay their executives stupid high money. Or they’re supposed to use a certain amount of their, charitable income toward whatever the main charity is.

[00:38:42] And there’s actually like a formula, right? So if you’re supposed to be taking in money for cancer research and only 18% goes to cancer research and the rest goes to overhead, you might not find that’s personally appealing to you, right? If you like, the executives make 800 grand a year and they have lavish parties as fundraisers, but only less than 20%.

[00:39:00] I’m just picking a number. Goes to the actual cancer research and you might find that offensive. Obviously they have to pay salaries, so it can never be a hundred percent, although I guess it could if they, take in a hundred percent more than a hundred percent of what they need. I don’t know.

[00:39:13] But I’m just saying do be careful of what charitables you choose to donate to. Not all of them are equal. Some of them are suspect, and it is definitely a vehicle for fraudsters to operate. And if not fraud. Fraud is a spectrum of like really sketchy to, it may be sketchy, maybe not. So just, be careful for what you donate to for sure.

[00:39:34] Keith: Yeah. You also have to be careful of anybody with an aka. Yes. We’ve learned that here. Yes.

[00:39:40] Seth: I don’t have any good AKAs. How about you? No,

[00:39:44] Keith: I’m sure my wife and kids have AKAs for me that I don’t even

[00:39:48] Seth: know nicknames. And I have pet names, I have things people call me, but they’re not AKAs.

[00:39:53] I’m surpris. Mine are not good. You were right. No, mine are. Yeah. That’s a separate conversation. I’m just glad it hasn’t, devolved into just, straight up asshole. Maybe we’re not that far from that. I think we

[00:40:03] Keith: Don’t hear ’em. We don’t know.

[00:40:05] Seth: We were both surprised that over 13,000 inmates fell for this, but at the same time, Maybe you said maybe 2 million.

[00:40:13] I’m not sure how many people we have incarcerated in the us. I know it’s a stupidly large number, but let’s just say, a hundred thousand saw this and 13,000 signed up for it. Maybe that’s, a high number. Maybe it’s not. But again, they got nothing to lose. I’m already in prison. You wanna send me a few books and a mazua fantastic.

[00:40:30] I, so I actually am not terribly surprised by it, but it is not a small number when you factor, that’s a huge pool of PII to play with. And that I think is ultimately, the thing I learned, which is you can do a lot with 13,000 people’s p i I.

[00:40:46] Keith: Yeah. I did the math, and if you take the restitution number instead of the 12 million and you take the restitution number of I wrote down 1.6, but so it might be slightly off, 1.6, 1.7 million, a divide by 2000 refunds, it comes out to about 800 per refunds.

[00:41:03] So I would say these refunds are probably in the range of 800 to $6,000 based upon the two equations that we’ve seen. Based upon the 12 million number and the 1.6

[00:41:16] Seth: number, I’d like to know how the IRS came up with that number. Maybe it was just a man hours approach of how long it would take them to disavow that specific return.

[00:41:25] I don’t know. Food for thought, right? Yep. And then the last bit we have here is as we said, this was certainly one of the higher sentences we’ve seen specifically for, again, I think it was the sheer scope. You have a couple things offsetting each other, right? You had 2000 people who were the victims of a crime.

[00:41:42] At the same time though, they didn’t really suffer, right? They were incarcerated either way. Maybe they didn’t receive their meza, but they the victim here really was the irs, and I guess when you defraud the government, they don’t take that. If you disclaim all crimes and you want to go to, you want to go to a prison.

[00:41:57] I wonder if there was any plea agreement offered to him where he might’ve done significantly less time. Shit, I would’ve actually gone the whole catch me if you can rather and hired this guy to help, look at other criminal fraudulent and enterprises in the charitable world. Maybe he could have been an asset to the government, but apparently he was not very cooperative.

[00:42:15] Keith: Yeah. All right, so that’s it for our conclusion. The next thing I want to tell you is please visit our website, eCrimeBytes, E C R I M E B Y, as in yellow milk t e And if you wonder why I’m saying Y as in yellow milk, Because we have yellow frozen milk that we’ve cracked jokes about, and I think it was somewhere around the kingpin episode starting there. If you back up a few episodes and hear it, we talk about frozen yellow milk and we’re, we will probably that if we come up with t-shirts, it’ll probably have frozen yellow milk on it. That’ll be probably be our first shirt. So yeah, for sure. What I’m telling you is go to our website if you’re on your.

[00:42:57] Your phone, there’s this three lines, the little computer hamburger that you click on, and I’ve got all our social media in there. I’ve got Instagram, Twitter, Mastodon, you name it, YouTube. Go in there and check out all the different things that we’ve got. Interact with us. Tell us if you like something, tell us if we got something right and you liked it, or tell us if we missed information and we should do an update on the case.

[00:43:21] Happy to do that as well. And if you prefer to be notified when we have these types of new episodes, sign up for our newsletter that’s also in the dropdown, and periodically we’ll send you emails with just the updates with our different cases and episodes. So with that, please, if you’re on, especially if you’re on the audio side, if you’re on audio like apple Podcast, Spotify, or what’s the other big one escaping me. Apple Podcast, Spotify and Podbean. Podbean. If you’re on those three, they have like star thumbs up systems. Please give us a positive rating. That’s how people that haven’t heard of us find out about us is we start looking like we have other listeners.

[00:44:12] And they say, Hey, this must be worth listening to. So we would appreciate that so much and we probably won’t ask for anything ever again other than just some reviews so other people can hear about us. So with that, Seth, did you have anything else you wanted to add before I close this out? No,

[00:44:28] Seth: this was a fun one.

[00:44:29] This was a little bit brief, but I thought it was a great pick, Keith. So good job and definitely looking forward to the next one.

[00:44:37] Keith: Yep. Try to pick, we try to pick cases that aren’t just boring, has some little humor to ’em because why else would you wanna listen to ’em? So stick around.

[00:44:46] We got a couple more cases. Every case I’ve picked has been this crazy. So if you stick around, you’re gonna, if this one didn’t float your boat, there’s gonna be a topic coming down that we’ve got that I’m pretty sure will. So hope to see you on one of those future ones soon. Thanks for sticking around in this one.

[00:45:00] Alright, bye bye-Bye.

#ecrimebytes #electronic #truecrime #podcast #inmate #charity #pii #fraud #humor #funny #comedy

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