A federal court in Central Islip, N.Y., has permanently barred Diana D. Bertocci-Aliffi from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today. The civil injunction order, to which Aliffi agreed without admitting the government’s allegations, was signed by Judge Joanna Seybert of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of New York.
The government complaint in the case alleged that Aliffi, of East Rockaway, claimed false Indian Employment Tax Credits (IETCs) for customers who were not eligible for the credits. The IETC is a credit for employers of certain qualified employees who are or whose spouses are members of an enrolled Indian tribe. It is not a credit for Native Americans who have no qualified employees. According to the complaint, Aliffi falsely told her customers, many of whom lived on or near the Shinnecock Indian Reservation in Southampton, N.Y., that they were eligible for the credit simply because they were Native Americans and lived on or near a reservation. Aliffi allegedly prepared federal income tax returns for these customers and improperly claimed the IETC on the returns. Aliffi also allegedly fabricated wage income and tax withholding on other customers’ tax returns in order to obtain larger tax refunds.
The government complaint alleged that Aliffi was incarcerated from February to August 2009 after pleading guilty in a New York state court to 76 counts of grand larceny, identity theft and forgery related to her tax preparation activities. According to the complaint she had stolen her customers’ personal information to file false federal and New York State tax returns, applied for refund anticipation loans using the false returns, and then diverted part of those loans to her own bank accounts.