Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – 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 U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
Belkis M. Guzman, 48, a tax return preparer who worked at El Centro Multiservicios LLC in Providence 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 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.
U.S. Attorney Neronha and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended the hard work of special agents of Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard W. Rose and Tax Division Trial Attorney Christopher O’Donnell, who are prosecuting this case.