Schneiderman announces arrest of tax preparers for allegedly filing false returns

Schneiderman: We will not allow unscrupulous individuals to line their own pockets at the expense of honest taxpayers

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Acting Taxation and Finance Commissioner Nonie Manion today announced the arrests of tax preparers Anibell Perez, 33, of New York, and Sorangel Carrasco, 34 of the Bronx, for charges related to the filing of fraudulent tax returns. According to documents filed in court, both women are alleged to have fraudulently filed tax returns on behalf of taxpayers in which they claimed deductions for false dependent nieces and nephews and requested refunds in excess of what the taxpayers were entitled to receive.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said, “We will not allow unscrupulous individuals to line their own pockets at the expense of honest taxpayers. Those who cheat the tax system are stealing from their fellow New Yorkers, and I am pleased to work with my partners in law enforcement as we continue to root out tax fraud.”

Both defendants were arraigned on felony complaints filed in Albany City Court.  Carrasco, a registered tax preparer located in Bronx, NY, has been charged with five counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (a Class E Felony), one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class E Felony), and one count of Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree (a Class E Felony).  Perez, also a registered tax preparer in Bronx, NY has been charged with four counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree and one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree.

These arrests are the result of a concerted enforcement effort carried out by the NYS Tax Department to crack down on tax preparers filing fraudulent returns. Attorney General Schneiderman partnered with the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark, and Richmond County District Attorney Michael McMahon. The allegations against other individuals by other law enforcement agencies include the following:

Thomas Keeley, 59, of Staten Island

  • Prepared several thousand returns since 2011, but nearly half claimed what appeared to be unsubstantiated itemized deductions with usually high job expenses;
  • Failed to file his own income tax returns from 2008 through 2015;
  • Faces 49 new felony counts for Criminal Tax Fraud and Offering a False Instrument for Filing;
  • Pleaded guilty to similar crimes in 2008.

Kevin Webb, 58, of The Bronx

  • Filed more than 20 suspicious tax returns with unverified data;
  • Faces Criminal Tax Fraud charges;
  • Failed to file his own income tax returns from 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Lorenzo Almanzar, 61, of White Plains

  • Filed returns with inflated job expenses on clients’ returns without the client’s knowledge;
  • Faces Criminal Tax Fraud charges and;
  • Offering a false instrument for filing.

Chatise Thomas, 41, of Brooklyn

  • Accused of engaging in schemes aimed at providing her clients with deductions that fraudulently lowered their tax liability;
  • Faces both felony and misdemeanor counts of offering a false instrument for filing;
  • This year, several of her clients were interviewed, all denying they gave her permission to claim inflated itemized deductions as claimed on their state income tax returns.

Jefferson Sanchez, 33 of New York, Wanda Ramirez, 23 of New York

  • Accused of adding false dependents to clients’ tax returns to inflate refunds;
  • Both face felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing and;
  • Misdemeanor criminal tax fraud charges.

Carol Rati, 61, of Brooklyn

  • Faces felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing;
  • She allegedly filed fraudulent tax returns for her clients claiming false deductions to either increase the refund amount or reduce their tax liability;
  • Investigators interviewed more than a dozen of her clients who all said their returns contained false information that they never provided.

“Everyone loses when a tax preparer commits tax fraud, including honest citizens and NYS communities deprived of revenue needed to fund vital services. We will continue to work with all our partners in law enforcement to ensure that unethical tax preparers are held accountable and face justice,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said, “Tax preparers have a responsibility to conduct themselves honestly and act in the best interests of their clients. Those who engage in theft and fraud steal from not only their clients, but from their communities as well. I will continue to work with my partners in law enforcement and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to ensure that tax professionals who commit fraud of this nature are held accountable.”

Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “I commend Governor Cuomo and the Tax Department for cracking down on unscrupulous tax preparers, who steal from all of us by shortchanging the State of tax revenues, the cost of which are then passed down to law-abiding tax payers. I will continue to work with all of our partners to prosecute this and every other type of fraud committed in Brooklyn.”

Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said, “We will not allow people in the Bronx who work hard and pay their taxes to be ripped off by unscrupulous tax preparers who file fraudulent returns on their behalf. We will continue to work with our partners to prosecute those who cheat New York State and its residents out of vital revenue.”

Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said, “Not only do fraudulent tax preparers deceive their clients, they cheat the hardworking people of Staten Island as well as the City and State of New York out of funds that can be used to benefit the public. In this case, the defendant allegedly conned taxpayers out of more than $82,000 by filing fraudulent returns. We will continue working with the Department of Taxation and Finance to investigate and prosecute those criminals responsible for victimizing law-abiding taxpayers.”

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The Attorney General encourages all New Yorkers to review his tax day tips to avoid frequent tax season frauds.

The Attorney General thanks the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for their assistance in this investigation.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General John R. Healy of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Bureau is led by Acting Bureau Chief Stephanie Swenton.

The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigator Dennis Churns, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigators Antoine Karam and John McManus.  The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.

1 comment to Schneiderman announces arrest of tax preparers for allegedly filing false returns

  • When I read about cases like these ones, I wonder what will happen to the victims. If they filed fraudulent tax returns (even without knowing it, because they trusted a tax preparer), they could still be held responsible for state and even federal tax fraud crimes. Will the state assist those taxpayers in filing amended tax returns, or will it be their own responsibility to find a new tax consultant and file the amended returns themselves?

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