NEWARK, N.J. – A Fairlawn, New Jersey, tax preparer today admitted preparing fraudulent income tax returns on behalf of her clients, causing losses of over $130,000, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Shirley Arias, a/k/a “Shirley Zambrano,” 43, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court to an information charging her with one count of aiding and assisting others in the preparation of false and fraudulent tax returns.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Arias was an owner and operator of Santos & Associates in Union City, New Jersey. For the tax years 2012 through 2014, Arias assisted in the filing of income tax returns based on false information. She used a number of fraudulent practices, including falsely claiming deductions and fabricating educational credits in order to obtain refunds for her clients in amounts greater than those to which they were entitled. The bogus returns resulted in a tax loss to the government of approximately $130,279.
The charge to which Arias pleaded guilty carries a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 25, 2017.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan D. Larsen, and special agents of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Inspector in Charge James V. Buthorn, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea. He also thanked special agents with the U.S. Secret Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Mark McKevitt in Newark, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason S. Gould of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Newark.
--District of New Jersey