A.G. Schneiderman And Acting Tax Commissioner Manion Announce Felony Conviction
Of Unregistered Long Island Tax Preparer
Susan Murillo Submitted Fraudulent Returns In An Attempt To Steal Refunds
From The New York State Department Of Taxation And Finance
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Acting Taxation and Finance Commissioner
Nonie Manion recently announced the conviction of Susan Murillo, 46, of
Elmont, NY, for Attempted Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class “E”
felony. Murillo was arrested in October 2016 on felony charges arising
from her unregistered tax preparer business and her submission of fraudulent
tax returns on behalf of taxpayers. A joint investigation by the Attorney
General’s Office and the New York State Department of Taxation and
Finance (“DTF”) uncovered the submission of over 200 fraudulent
New York State personal income tax returns for tax years 2011 through
2014, resulting in the theft from the DTF of $57,236 and the attempted
theft of an additional $103,749.25.
According to statements made by the prosecutor at the time of the plea,
Murillo, who was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance at the
time, ran an unregistered tax preparer business out of her house in Elmont,
NY. Between 2012 and 2015, Murillo submitted over 200 fraudulent returns
claiming thousands of dollars in fraudulent deductions related to Child
Dependent Care Credit, College Tuition Credit, and Volunteer Firefighters’
and Ambulance Workers’ Credit.
“Exploiting state programs intended to provide financial assistance
to New Yorkers for personal financial gain is shameful. We will not have
any tolerance for those who undermine our tax system and avoid paying
their fair share,” said
Attorney General Schneiderman.
“This conviction sends a powerful and timely message: If you decide
to use a tax preparer this filing season, ensure the person is trustworthy,” said
Acting Commissioner Manion. “Please also remember that once you sign the return, you become
legally responsible for its accuracy.”
In November 2016, Murillo pleaded guilty before the Honorable Thomas A.
Breslin, Justice of the Albany County Supreme Court, to Attempted Grand
Larceny in the Third Degree (a Class “E” felony). She was
sentenced yesterday to five years of probation and a confession of judgment
for the total amount stolen.
The prosecutor stated that Murillo’s plea also covered the other
felony charges related to her unregistered tax preparer business, including
the submission of over 200 fraudulent returns prepared by Murillo on behalf
of taxpayers, resulting in a theft of $57,236 in fraudulent refunds prior
to the detection of the falsities. DTF was able to stop the issuance of
an additional $100,000 in additional fraudulent refunds.
Tax payers should check to ensure that tax preparers are registered with
New York State by using the Tax Department’s searchable
online database of 40,000 tax preparers. Certified public accountants, attorneys and enrolled
agents have other professional requirements and are, therefore, not required
to be registered.
The Attorney General thanked the New York State Department of Taxation
and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division for its cooperation
in the case.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Philip V. Apruzzese
of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Bureau is
led by Bureau Chief Gary T. Fishman and Deputy Chief Stephanie Swenton.
The Attorney General’s investigation was conducted by Investigators
Mark Spencer and Brian Metz, under the supervision of Deputy Chief Investigators
Antoine Karam and John McManus. The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief