Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 9, 2016

Rhode Island Tax Return Preparer Pleads Guilty to Preparing Fraudulent Returns and Aggravated Identity Theft

A Cranston, Rhode Island, resident pleaded guilty yesterday to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, wire fraud, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha for the District of Rhode Island.

According to documents filed with the court, Belkis M. Guzman, 48, a tax return preparer who worked at El Centro Multiservicios LLC in Providence, Rhode Island, admitted to preparing false individual income tax returns for clients for tax years 2009 through 2011, which included false dependents, exemptions, tax credits, deductions or expenses.  She also admitted to depositing more than 100 fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks totaling more than $800,700 into her personal bank account, which were generated by the filing of false tax returns prepared by others.  Guzman distributed a portion of these ill-gotten proceeds to others and received a percentage of the negotiated checks as payment for depositing the checks into her account.

U.S. District Judge William E. Smith for the District of Rhode Island scheduled sentencing for Dec. 2.  Guzman faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud count, 10 years in prison for each count of theft of government funds, three years in prison for each count of assisting in the preparation of false tax returns for clients and a mandatory two years in prison for each count of aggravated identity theft, as well as a period of supervised release and monetary penalties.  

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Neronha commended the hard work of special agents of Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Rose and Tax Division Trial Attorney Christopher O’Donnell, who are prosecuting this case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

Topic(s): 
Identity Theft
Tax
Component(s): 
Press Release Number: 
16-1029
Updated December 12, 2016