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Tax Preparer Sentenced for Filing Bogus Returns Broome County resident faces $30,000 in preparer penalties

For Release: Immediate,

For press inquiries only, contact: James Gazzale, 518-457-7377

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced that a former tax preparer from Broome County has been sentenced for preparing and filing fraudulent personal income tax returns.

Heather Sweet, 36, of 66 Massachusetts Avenue, Johnson City, pleaded guilty in June to a felony for filing false income tax returns with the NYS Tax Department. The returns in question reported false Schedule C income and claimed refundable credits that weren’t owed.

The department’s investigation showed that Sweet filed the returns for numerous friends and relatives for tax years 2008 through 2011 while she was employed by a professional tax preparation firm.

Sweet was sentenced in Broome County Court on October 21 to a three-year conditional discharge and ordered to make restitution to New York State in the amount of $12,000. The Tax Department will bill Sweet an additional $30,000 in preparer penalties.

"Many New Yorkers hire tax preparers to accurately and honestly prepare their returns,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “Preparers who betray that trust not only break the law, they jeopardize their clients' finances. We will continue to work with law enforcement at all levels to investigate and prosecute these individuals."

Tax preparer registration

Tax preparers: You must register with the Tax Department if you qualify as a tax return preparer or as someone who helps to issue or administer a refund anticipation loan or refund anticipation check. Visit www.tax.ny.gov for details.

File a complaint

If you're aware of a tax preparer who has engaged in illegal or improper conduct, contact the NYS Tax Department at (518) 530-HELP (option #2) or file a tax preparer complaint online. The information is kept confidential. The Tax Department takes this type of illegal activity seriously, promptly reviews each complaint, and takes corrective action when appropriate.

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