NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – A former nurse aide at Sentara’s Virginia General Hospital in Virginia Beach has been sentenced in connection to an identity fraud case.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, 37-year-old Festus Ighalo was sentenced to 57 months in prison for conspiracy to defraud the government. He pleaded guilty on Oct. 8, 2013.
Ighalo and his codefendant, Emmanuel Effiong, are both originally from Nigeria and are now naturalized U.S. citizens, according to court documents. They were both nurse aides at Sentara’s Virginia General Hospital in Virginia Beach.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said they used their positions at the hospital to obtain Personally Identifiable Information (PII), such as dates of birth and social security numbers, from thousands of patients. They then used that information to submit fraudulent federal tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service and receive tax refunds in the patients’ names.
On Jan. 10, 2014, Effiong was sentenced to 81 months in prison for conspiracy and aggravated identity theft.