“Operation Breaking Bad Preparers” uncovered fraud schemes involving inflated refunds, fake dependents, and excessive deductions
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced the results of a concerted enforcement effort to crack down on tax preparers filing fraudulent returns. This ongoing initiative, culminating in recent enforcement actions, resulted in the execution of five search warrants and nine arrests across New York City.
“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.
Preparers arrested in undercover operation
- Thomas Keeley, 59, of 358 Clarke Avenue, Staten Island, faces 49 felony counts for criminal tax fraud and offering a false instrument for filing. He allegedly prepared several thousand returns since 2011 with nearly half claiming unsubstantiated itemized deductions with unusually high job expenses. Keeley also failed to file his own income tax returns from 2008 through 2015. He pleaded guilty to similar crimes in 2008.
- Kevin Webb, 58, of 3027 Grace Avenue, Bronx, faces criminal tax fraud charges. He allegedly filed more than 20 suspicious tax returns containing unverified data. He also failed to file his own income tax returns from 2013, 2014, and 2015.
- Lorenzo Almanzar, 61, of 16 Stratford Road, White Plains, faces charges for criminal tax fraud and offering a false instrument for filing. He allegedly filed returns with inflated job expenses on clients’ returns without the clients’ knowledge.
- Chatise Thomas, 41, of 1561 Royce Street, Brooklyn, faces felony and misdemeanor counts of offering a false instrument for filing. She allegedly engaged in schemes aimed at providing her clients deductions that fraudulently lowered their tax liability. Clients who were interviewed denied giving her permission to claim inflated itemized deductions on their state income tax returns.
- Jefferson Sanchez, 33, of 210 Sherman Avenue, Apartment 12E, New York, and Wanda Ramirez, 23, of 210 Sherman Avenue, Apartment 8B, New York, NY both face felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing and misdemeanor criminal tax fraud charges. They allegedly added false dependents to clients’ tax returns to inflate refunds.
- Carol Rati, 61, of 7303 18th Avenue, 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.
The Attorney General’s office arrested and is prosecuting the following individuals:
- Anibell Perez, 33, of 881 E 162nd Street, Apartment 7A, Bronx, faces felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing and attempted grand larceny. She allegedly claimed false dependents, false wages, and/or false deductions to inflate refunds for clients through her tax preparation business, A & J Tax Professionals.
- Sorangel Carrasco, 34, of 3511 Dekalb Avenue, Apartment 3A, Bronx, faces felony charges of offering a false instrument for filing and grand larceny. She allegedly claimed false dependents, false wages, and/or false deductions to inflate refunds for clients through her tax preparation business, Lenis Solutions.
In addition to the arrests, Tax Department investigators also executed five search warrants within the last week across New York City. They seized business records, computers, and other electronic devices.
The Tax Department partnered with the office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, 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.
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.”
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.”
A criminal complaint is only an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
If you’re aware of a tax preparer who has engaged in illegal or improper conduct, you can file a tax preparer complaint online or contact the NYS Tax Department at 518-530-HELP (option #2). The information is kept confidential. The Tax Department takes this type of illegal activity seriously, promptly reviews each complaint, and takes corrective action when appropriate.