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Post date: May 18 2016

A.G. Schneiderman Announces State Prison Sentence For Unregistered Tax Preparer

Raul D. Kelley Sentenced To 2 To 6 Years in Prison For Submitting Forged NYC Transit Authority W2 Statements And Preparing Over 700 Fraudulent Tax Returns

Schneiderman: If You Intentionally Lie On Your Taxes, You Will Be Caught And You Will Be Held Responsible

ALBANY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the sentencing of Raul D. Kelley, 49, of the Bronx, NY for submitting forged W2 statements and preparing over 700 fraudulent tax returns while acting as an unregistered tax preparer. Kelley also submitted fraudulent documents and information on his own personal income taxes in an effort to illegally take more than $25,000. Kelley was sentenced today in Albany County Supreme Court to 2 to 6 years in state prison on his pleas of guilty to the crimes of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree, a class “D” felony, and Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class “E” felony.

“When individuals attempt to cheat on their taxes, it shifts the burden to other honest New Yorkers,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Today’s sentencing makes it clear that if you intentionally lie on your taxes, you will be caught and you will be held responsible.”

In January 2015, as a result of a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s (DTF’s) Criminal Investigations Division, Kelley was arrested on felony charges regarding his operation of an unregistered tax preparer business, in which he submitted fraudulent tax returns on behalf of taxpayers. 

According to the indictment and statements made to prosecutors, Kelley worked for the NYC Transit Authority from 2007 until 2008 as a train operator. However, after leaving the NYC Transit Authority, Kelley continued to submit forged W2 Statements through the 2012 tax year, claiming thousands of dollars in fraudulent tax withholdings. In addition, Kelley claimed thousands of dollars in deductions and credits that he was not entitled to, all in an effort to personally wrongfully collect more than $25,000 in New York State tax refunds.

The investigation by the Attorney General and the DTF uncovered additional crimes linked to Kelley’s role as an unregistered tax preparer, including the submission of over 700 fraudulent New York State personal and corporate income tax returns for tax years 2009 through 2012. These submissions resulted in the theft from the DTF of $267,425 and the attempted theft of an additional $506,572.

On April 5, 2016, Kelley pleaded guilty to the crimes of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree (a Class “D” felony) and Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class “E” felony).  At the time of his plea, Kelley admitted that these crimes were related to Kelley’s role as an unregistered tax preparer and his submission of fraudulent New York State personal and corporate income tax returns for clients between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2013.

Kelley was sentenced today by the Honorable Andrew G. Ceresia in Albany County Supreme Court to 2 to 6 years in state prison.

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 DTF’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, and Mark Spencer, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigators Antoine Karam and John McManus.  The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.