AZ Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty for Preparing Fraudulent Returns and Faces Jail Time
PHOENIX --Attorney General Mark Brnovich and the Arizona Department of Revenue announced that Roberto De La O, who offered his services as a paid tax preparer, has pleaded guilty to Fraudulent Schemes and Artifices and two counts of Preparing a False Tax Returns.
De La O prepared approximately 118 fraudulent tax returns for tax years 2014 through 2017. On each return De La O prepared, he included a W-2 or 1099-Miscellaneous from Red Home Investments that fraudulently included both Arizona and federal income tax withholding. This fraudulent withholding increased the federal and state refunds of the taxpayers.
The Arizona Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigations Unit investigated the case and discovered that De La O was the sole member of Red Home Investments. During their investigation, they were unable to find evidence that Red Home had paid the wages reflected on the Forms W-2 and 1099-Miscellaneous and De La O admitted that he had never sent in the listed withholding.
Under the March 12, 2020 plea agreement, De La O faces a sentence of up to 2.5 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections or one year of jail. He will be also placed on up to 7 years of probation and pay an $18,000 fine. De La O will be responsible for paying up to $50,000 to affected taxpayers to reimburse costs to amend their returns and to cover any accrued interest on taxes actually due. De La O’s sentencing is currently scheduled for May 15, 2020.
ADOR recommends that all taxpayers carefully review their prepared tax return, including any schedules or income reporting forms, to ensure accuracy before filing. Taxpayers are also warned to watch out for tax preparers who promise unusually large refunds, charge a percentage of your refund rather than a flat fee, or say things that sound too good to be true. For more tips and information, read ADOR’s latest bulletin.
Assistant Attorney General Mary Harris prosecuted this case.