$10m Zim con man to do less US jail time

HARARE - A Zimbabwean man accused in a $10 million US tax fraud has had some of his charges dropped by federal prosecutors in exchange for his cooperation after entering a plea deal.

Kudzaishe Bungu, 26, pleaded guilty to engaging in illegal monetary transactions during a court appearance in Cincinnati on Monday.

Without a plea deal that led to the reduction of his charges, Bungu would have faced up to 60 years in jail, but now he faces only up to 10.

Another defendant in the case, Tawanda Marimbire, 23, is set to plead guilty on January 10.

The two are part of seven Zimbabwean suspects that authorities say ran a tax preparation business in Cincinnati, and used the identities of at least 658 people to file false returns, collecting between $2,4 million and $10 million.

Suspects who are still at large include Kudzaiishe Marimbire, 34, Hlomera Mabhande, 30, (now late) Johanes Tagarisa, 37, Andrew Bere, 22, and Julius Marimbire, 32.

Mabhande died in a car accident in Zimbabwe on September 30, along Samora Machel Avenue in Harare.

He was reported to have been travelling to a party driving a convertible Mercedes when he was involved in a head-on collision.

A friend of his, Edward Dzingai, with whom he was travelling, was hurt in the crash and hospitalised.

Julius Marimbire, one of the suspects who skipped the US and fled to Zimbabwe, is reported to be living a flamboyant life in Masvingo.

The Daily News, reported recently that the fugitive was “spotted every day cruising in top-of-the range vehicles, including Range Rovers, the latest Mercedes Benz, a Chrysler, and a Toyota Tundra.” — New Zimbabwe

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