Wednesday, December 15, 2021

New York City Tax Preparers Caught Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns



Plead guilty to hiding business income and inflating deductions

 The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced a trio of guilty pleas by New York City tax preparers who attempted to defraud their clients and the state.

Raul Martinez, the owner of Apollo Tax located at 170 Dyckman Street in New York City, was sentenced to five years’ probation after pleading guilty to felony criminal tax fraud.

Martinez admitted to falsely representing his New York City residency, failing to remit withholding tax to New York State as required by law, and failing to report business income from Apollo Tax on his personal income tax return.

Martinez will pay more than $94,000 in restitution for tax years 2015 through 2018. As part of his probation, he’s prohibited from preparing tax returns for any individual taxpayer. He faces jail time if he violates this condition of his sentencing.

Additionally, two Bronx-based tax preparers pleaded guilty to claiming bogus deductions on several returns they filed.

Laureano Lopez, 64, and Adalberto Velasquez, 43, of Roy’s Agency Inc., located at 1562 Watson Avenue, Bronx, NY, filed the fraudulent returns on behalf of individual taxpayers. The taxpayers were not entitled to the inflated deductions claimed on the returns.

Lopez was a registered New York State tax preparer. Velasquez was not registered to legally prepare taxes in New York State.

The Albany County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted all three preparers.

“We will continue to aggressively pursue dishonest tax professionals who aim to profit at the expense of New York State and to the detriment of their clients,” said Acting Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Amanda Hiller. “As the income tax filing season approaches, I encourage all New Yorkers who decide to hire a paid preparer to ensure they’re ethical professionals.”

Report fraud

New Yorkers aware of tax preparers committing fraud can anonymously report it online or by phone at 518-457-0578. The Tax Department promptly reviews each complaint and takes corrective action when appropriate.

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