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Accountant gets jail time in fraud in the US

“Creative accounting” almost a half million dollars worth – on clients' tax returns has landed a Bronx tax preparer a year and a day in jail.

Toni-Ann Landi received the sentence in Manhattan Federal Court this week after an earlier guilty plea to preparing false income tax returns for clients. She could have received up to five years.

The Internal Revenue Service charged that between 1994 and 1999, she and her late father, Anthony Landi, fudged deductions and inflated personal expenses for items such as charitable contributions, job-related expenses and medical and dental expenses to bring their clients large refunds or to lower their final tax bills.

The amounts in question reported by the accountants, who did business as A&A Brokerage Inc., at 3246 White Plains Road, totaled $415,813, the IRS said.

It was unclear yesterday what, if any, action was taken by the IRS against the preparers' clients who filed the returns. But in such cases, they could face audits or would have to file amended returns, an IRS spokesman said.

Landi, 32, of Yorktown Heights, Westchester County, and her father were named April 2001 in a 17-page indictment on charges of conspiracy to defraud the IRS, but he later died.

Anthony Landi, an accountant since 1970, was charged with 17 criminal counts. Toni-Ann Landi, who joined her father's firm in 1992, faced 23 counts, with each count carrying a maximum $250,000 fine.

She pleaded guilty on March 22 before Manhattan Federal Judge Richard Berman to one count of conspiracy to defraud the IRS.

Paul Machalek, special agent in charge of the IRS criminal investigation New York field office, warned taxpayers to pick their tax preparers as carefully as they would their doctor or lawyer, and that they are ultimately responsible for all the information on the tax return.

“Fraud perpetrated by tax preparers is unfair to the hardworking American tax-paying public,” he said, adding that his office continually investigates this type of fraud.

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