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Post date: February 5 2016

A.G. Schneiderman And Tax Commissioner Boone Announce Indictment Charging Unregistered Bronx Tax Preparer With Tax Fraud

Raul D. Kelley Allegedly Submitted Forged NYC Transit Authority W2 Statements And Fraudulent Deductions To The New York State Department Of Taxation And Finance In An Attempt To Steal Tax Refunds

ALBANY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Taxation and Finance Commissioner Jerry Boone today announced the arrest and indictment of Raul D. Kelley, 49, of Bronx, NY on felony charges arising from the alleged submission of fraudulent documents and information on his personal income taxes in an effort to take more than $25,000 in refunds from the Department of Taxation and Finance.  In January 2015, Attorney General Schneiderman announced the arrest of Kelley, an unregistered tax preparer, on separate charges stemming from the alleged submission of fraudulent tax returns on behalf of taxpayers.

“Taxpayers have a responsibility to file tax forms that are truthful and accurate,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “When individuals file false tax returns, it breaks the law and shifts the burden to honest taxpayers.”

“Whether you hire a tax preparer or prepare your own taxes, this case serves as a warning about the potential penalties for claiming an inflated refund by including false information on a tax return,” said Commissioner Boone. “During the tax season and throughout the year, we will continue to work with the Attorney General and all levels of law enforcement to prosecute those who cheat on tax returns and protect New Yorkers from fraud and unscrupulous practices."

According to the indictment and statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, Kelley worked for the NYC Transit Authority from 2007 until 2008 as a train operator.  However, Kelley is accused of submitting forged W2 Statements from NYC Transit through the 2012 tax year, claiming thousands of dollars in fraudulent tax withholdings to the Department of Taxation and Finance.  In addition to this, the prosecutor alleged that Kelley claimed thousands of dollars in deductions and credits that he was not entitled to, all in an effort to wrongfully take more than $25,000 in tax refunds.

Kelley was arraigned on the indictment this morning before the Honorable Judge Andrew G. Ceresia in Albany County Supreme Court, charging him with three counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (a Class “D” felony), three counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (a Class “E” felony), three counts of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class “E” felony), and one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree (a Class “A” misdemeanor). Bail was set in the amount of $15,000.

In January 2015, Kelly was previously charged by the Attorney General with separate charges related to his work as an unregistered tax preparer.  The felony complaint, currently pending in Albany City Court, charges Kelly one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree (a Class “E” felony) one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (a Class “E” felony) and one count of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class “E” felony). 

Kelley was arraigned on the indictment this morning before the Honorable Judge Andrew G. Ceresia in Albany County Supreme Court, charging him with three counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (a Class “D” felony), three counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (a Class “E” felony), three counts of Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class “E” felony), and one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree (a Class “A” misdemeanor). Bail was set in the amount of $15,000. The case is adjourned until March 21. 

If convicted of all charges, Kelley faces in excess of 7 years in prison.

The investigation by the Attorney General and the Department of Taxation and Finance into the submission of hundreds of other fraudulent returns allegedly submitted by Kelley on behalf of taxpayers is ongoing.  

The charges against the defendant are accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Commissioner Boone encourages taxpayers to ensure that tax preparers are registered with New York State by using the Tax Department’s searchable online database of 40,000 tax preparers. Certified public accountants, attorneys and enrolled agents have other professional requirements and are, therefore, not required to be registered.

The Attorney General thanked the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division for its cooperation in the case.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Philip V. Apruzzese of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Chief Stephanie Swenton. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.

The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigators Michael Leahy, Elsa Rojas, Mark Spencer and Christopher Bzduch, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigators Antoine Karam and John McManus.  The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella. 

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