A.G. Schneiderman And Acting Tax Commissioner Manion Announce Felony Conviction Of Unregistered Long Island Tax Preparer

News from Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2017

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A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN AND ACTING TAX COMMISSIONER MANION ANNOUNCE FELONY CONVICTION OF UNREGISTERED LONG ISLAND TAX PREPARER

Susan Murillo Submitted Fraudulent Returns In An Attempt To Steal Refunds From The New York State Department Of Taxation And Finance

ALBANY – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Acting Taxation and Finance Commissioner Nonie Manion today announced the conviction of Susan Murillo, 46, of Elmont, NY, for Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class “E” felony.  Murillo was arrested in October 2016 on felony charges arising from her unregistered tax preparer business and her submission of fraudulent tax returns on behalf of taxpayers.  A joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance (“DTF”) uncovered the submission of over 200 fraudulent New York State personal income tax returns for tax years 2011 through 2014, resulting in the theft from the DTF of $57,236 and the attempted theft of an additional $103,749.25.  

According to statements made by the prosecutor at the time of the plea, Murillo, who was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance at the time, ran an unregistered tax preparer business out of her house in Elmont, NY.  Between 2012 and 2015, Murillo submitted over 200 fraudulent returns claiming thousands of dollars in fraudulent deductions related to Child Dependent Care Credit, College Tuition Credit, and Volunteer Firefighters’ and Ambulance Workers’ Credit. 

“Exploiting state programs intended to provide financial assistance to New Yorkers for personal financial gain is shameful. We will not have any tolerance for those who undermine our tax system and avoid paying their fair share,” said Attorney General Schneiderman.

“This conviction sends a powerful and timely message: If you decide to use a tax preparer this filing season, ensure the person is trustworthy,” said Acting Commissioner Manion. “Please also remember that once you sign the return, you become legally responsible for its accuracy.”

In November 2016, Murillo pleaded guilty before the Honorable Thomas A. Breslin, Justice of the Albany County Supreme Court, to Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class “E” felony).   She was sentenced yesterday to five years of probation and a confession of judgment for the total amount stolen.

The prosecutor stated that Murillo’s plea also covered the other felony charges related to her unregistered tax preparer business, including  the submission of over 200 fraudulent returns prepared by Murillo on behalf of taxpayers, resulting in a theft of $57,236 in fraudulent refunds prior to the detection of the falsities.  DTF was able to stop the issuance of an additional $100,000 in additional fraudulent refunds. 

Tax payers should check 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 Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigators Mark Spencer and Brian Metz, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigators Antoine Karam and John McManus.  The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.