IRS Criminal Investigations in New Jersey

 – April 29, 2020
IRS Criminal Investigations in New Jersey

IRS-Criminal Investigation serves the American public by investigating potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and related financial crimes in a manner that fosters confidence in the tax system and compliance with the law. Below are cases that the IRS Criminal Investigations unit in New Jersey is currently working on:


April 29, 2020

Tax Preparer Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Conspiring to File False Income Tax Returns

A former employee of Tax Pro’s and Tax Solutions & Associates, tax preparation businesses located in Essex and Union counties, was sentenced today to 48 months in prison for conspiring to defraud the United States by filing false income tax returns, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Tony V. Russell, 49, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, previously pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court to Count One of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to defraud the IRS. Judge Shipp imposed the sentence today in a teleconference proceeding.

Two members of the conspiracy have previously pleaded guilty to their roles in the fraud and await sentencing. Damien Askew, 39, of Union, New Jersey, pleaded guilty June 6, 2017, to conspiracy to defraud the IRS and filing a false federal personal income tax return and is awaiting sentencing. Rudolph Sanders, 41, of Newark, New Jersey, pleaded guilty May 10, 2018, to conspiracy to defraud the IRS and is awaiting sentencing.

Two other members of the conspiracy, Joseph Kenny Batts, 49, of Elkridge, Maryland, and Angelo K. Thompson, 38, of Reistertown, Maryland, were arrested April 17, 2018, on charges of conspiracy to defraud the IRS and aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns. On Aug. 8, 2019, Thompson pleaded guilty before Judge Shipp to Count One of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to defraud the IRS, and awaits sentencing. On Sept. 17, 2019, Batts was convicted following a one-week trial before Judge Shipp on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and five counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns, and awaits sentencing.

According to documents filed in this and related cases and statements made in court:

From at least 2009 to April 2015, Batts was co-owner, along with Askew, of Tax Pro’s, a tax return preparation and payroll business in Essex County, where Russell, Sanders, Batts, Thompson, and Askew prepared tax returns. To boost their business, the defendants conspired to falsify their clients’ federal income tax returns to generate refunds from the IRS in amounts that their clients were not entitled to receive. Russell, Sanders, Batts, Thompson, and Askew inflated tax refunds by fabricating and inflating credits for education and childcare; deductions, such as charitable contributions and unreimbursed employee expenses; and business losses.

Russell and other members of the conspiracy also permitted Batts to use their Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTIN) – the identification number that paid tax preparers are required to place on tax returns they have prepared – when preparing tax returns to conceal Batts’ identity as the actual tax return preparer; Batts had a prior federal tax fraud conviction.

After law enforcement executed a search warrant at Tax Pro’s in April 2015, Batts discontinued Tax Pro’s and opened Tax Solutions and Associates in Union, where Russell, Thompson, and Batts continued preparing false federal income tax returns. By fraudulently inflating the amounts of the tax refunds, Batts, Askew, Thompson, Russell, and Sanders caused a total tax loss to the IRS in excess of $900,000.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Shipp sentenced Russell to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution of $241,185.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Laura J. Perry, with the investigation leading to today’s sentencing.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Cari Fais and Jihee Suh of the Special Prosecutions Division.


April 28, 2020

South Jersey Tax Preparer Admits Filing False Income Tax Returns

A South Jersey woman who owns a tax preparation business admitted today to helping her clients file falsified tax returns, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.

Gloria Valentin, 48, of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, pleaded guilty by teleconference before U.S. District Judge Renee Marie Bumb in Camden federal court to an information charging her with one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false income tax returns.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Valentin owned, operated and approved all of the income tax returns filed by GNG Business Solutions in Cinnaminson. She admitted that she prepared approximately 60 income tax returns for 27 tax clients during tax years 2013 through 2016. Those tax returns contained similar patterns of false and fictitious Schedule A itemized deductions and unreimbursed employee business expenses. Valentin and her employees fabricated Schedule A, unreimbursed employee business expenses when none were incurred. Those false expenses resulted in substantially reduced income tax liabilities and resulted in larger refunds for her clients and caused a tax loss of $201,896 to the government.

The charges to which Valentin pleaded guilty carry a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 8, 2020.

U.S. Attorney Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Laura J. Perry, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.

The government is represented by Senior Trial Counsel Jason M. Richardson of the U.S. Attorney=s Office Criminal Division in Camden.

Defense counsel: Mark Catanzaro Esq., Mt. Holly, New Jersey

 


Feb. 5, 2020

Hoboken-Based Accountant Sentences to 12 Months for Tax Evasion

A Hoboken-based accountant was sentenced to a year and a day in prison for evading more than $914,000 in taxes on income he earned from his accounting practice and various rental properties he owned, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced today.

Louis Picardo, 64, of Hoboken, New Jersey, previously pleaded guilty to an information charging him with four counts of income tax evasion. U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler imposed the sentence on Feb. 4, 2020 in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Picardo served as the Tax Collector in Hoboken between 1973 and 2008 and was a partner in Cannarozzi & Picardo LLC, a Hoboken-based accounting firm. Picardo also was a member of multiple entities (the “Picardo Entities”) that managed both commercial and residential properties in Hudson County. Picardo failed to report approximately $3,725,853 in taxable income that he collected from Cannarozzi & Picardo and the Picardo Entities on federal income tax returns he filed with the IRS for the tax years 2012 to 2015, resulting in a tax loss to the United States of approximately $914,908.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Chesler sentenced Picardo to two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $914,908.

U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur, with the investigation leading to the sentence.

The government is represented by Assistant United States Attorney Sean Farrell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Division and Rahul Agarwal, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division.

Defense counsel: Peter Willis, Esq., Jersey City

 


Jan. 21, 2020

New Brunswick Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

The owner of a tax return preparation business located in North Brunswick, New Jersey, pleaded guilty today to income tax evasion.

Juan Solano, 45, a resident of North Brunswick, NJ, entered his plea in Trenton federal court before U. S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan. Solano pleaded guilty to one count of personal income tax evasion pertaining to his 2016 tax return. Sentencing is scheduled for May 12.

“As we get ready to begin this year’s filing season, honest taxpayers need to be reassured that everyone is paying their fair share,” stated John R. Tafur, Special Agent in Charge, IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office. “Today’s guilty plea should reassure those Americans who file accurate, honest and timely returns that the government will hold accountable those who do not.”

According to court documents and statements made in court:

Solano was the owner of J&C Solano Tax Service (J&C). During the calendar year 2016, Solano reported that he earned $113,263 in gross receipt from J&C. Solano admitted that he failed to report an additional $318,228 in gross receipts that he earned from J&C during the 2016 calendar year.

In addition, Solano admitted that he filed false personal tax returns and evaded his taxes for the years 2013, 2014 and 2015. In total, for the years 2013 through 2016, Solano owes the government approximately $299,274 in additional taxes based on his criminal conduct.

The count of tax evasion carries a statutory maximum prison sentence of five years and a statutory maximum fine equal to the greatest of: (1) $250,000; (2) twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain derived from the offense; or (3) twice the gross amount of any pecuniary loss sustained by any victims of the offense.

The investigation was conducted by IRS-Criminal Investigation, Newark Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge John R. Tafur and the U.S. Attorney’s Office, under the direction of U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito. The Government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Cymetra Williams. 

Defense Attorney: Michael S. Adelman, Esq. – Cherry Hill, NJ.