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NJ Tax Preparer Uses Dead Guy’s ID to File False Returns

A New Jersey tax return preparer admitted today to filing false claims with the IRS using a dead tax return preparer’s identification and preparing false documents for fraudulent loans. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman says Todd Halpern pleaded guilty to filing false claims and wire fraud.

Flickr User Tax Credits

In 2008, Halpern bought A & V Financial (A & V), a tax return preparation business from the wife of the prior owner, who is identified in court documents as “V.R.”, who had died in March 2008. Halpern got the company’s computers and all of its client records. As part of the agreement to purchase A & V, Halpern was to obtain a new Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN) in his own name. Instead, he continued to file tax returns using V.R.’s EFIN number because his criminal record prevented him from getting an EFIN.

According to court statements, From 2009 through 2010, Halpern prepared and filed 657 fraudulent federal income tax returns with the IRS using V.R.’s EFIN. He prepared and filed some of these fraudulent tax returns without the knowledge and authorization of the taxpayers identified on the returns. Some of these tax returns contained fraudulent income and deduction amounts, which generated fraudulent refunds that were directly deposited into Halpern’s bank account.

Refunds Fueled Lavish Lifestyle

In total, Halpern received $373,938 in fraudulent tax refunds. He used these funds to support his lavish lifestyle, including purchases at Prada, Chanel, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Bloomingdales, to acquire season tickets to the New York Giants, to purchase thousands of dollars in jewelry, gold coins, and silver certificates, to make car payments on multiple luxury vehicles, including a 2007 Cadillac Escalade and a 2008 Lexus GX-470, and to buy car parts for his classic 1957 Chevy Bel Air.

Possible Prison Sentence

The wire fraud count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, or twice the gross amount of pecuniary gain or loss resulting from Halpern’s offense. The tax fraud count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 10, 2013.

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