Bronx tax preparer pleads guilty to $3 million tax fraud

 

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Date: February 19, 2021

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Audrey Strauss, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Jonathan D. Larsen, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation ("IRS-CI"), announced today that Roberto Perez Ramirez, the owner of a tax preparation business named RAP Tax Service in the Bronx, New York, pled guilty to 10 counts of aiding and assisting the preparation of false and fraudulent income tax returns for the tax years 2013 to 2016. As part of the plea agreement, Ramirez agreed to make restitution to the IRS in the amount of $2,974,547. Ramirez pled guilty this morning before U.S. District Judge Andrew L. Carter Jr.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said: "As he admitted in court today, Roberto Ramirez submitted false and fraudulent tax returns on behalf of numerous taxpayers, often falsely claiming dependents, nonexistent charitable deductions, or bogus business expenses on behalf of clients who paid Ramirez to do so. Now he awaits sentencing for his admitted crimes."

IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen said: "The defendant's admissions today, at the kickoff of the filing season, are a timely reminder of the vital need for the taxpayer to do their due diligence in choosing a preparer. A preparer who is claiming to offer an unusually large return or one who is charging exorbitant fees should automatically raise red flags with the taxpayer."

According to the allegations contained in the Information to which Ramirez pled guilty, Ramirez's plea agreement, and statements made in court:

Through his Bronx tax preparation business, RAP Tax Service, Ramirez prepared and filed nearly 3,000 individual income tax returns on behalf of taxpayers for the tax years 2013 to 2016.

On many of the returns that he prepared for the tax years 2013 to 2016, Ramirez falsely claimed dependents who were not in fact dependents of the named taxpayers. The false dependents included real persons located in Puerto Rico, among other places. By including false dependents, Ramirez fraudulently inflated the refunds that could be obtained on the named taxpayers' returns. Ramirez sometimes charged clients a $1,000 fee to add a false dependent.

In addition to reporting false dependents, Ramirez also reported false Schedule A deductions, such as gifts to charity or unreimbursed employee business expenses, and false Schedule C business expenses. By including false Schedule A deductions and false Schedule C expenses, Ramirez fraudulently inflated the refunds that could be obtained on the named taxpayers' returns.

For the tax years 2013 through 2016, Ramirez's scheme caused an estimated tax loss to the IRS of approximately $3 million.

Ramirez of Hackensack, New Jersey, pled guilty to 10 counts of aiding and assisting the preparation of false and fraudulent income tax returns for the tax years 2013 to 2016. Each count carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. As part of the plea agreement, Ramirez has agreed to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $2,974,547. Ramirez is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Carter on June 25, 2021, at 10:00 a.m.

The maximum potential sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Ms. Strauss praised the outstanding investigative work of IRS-CI in this case.

This case is being handled by the Office's General Crimes Unit. Assistant United States Attorney Alexander Li is in charge of the prosecution.