Martha came to us last year as part of a breaking Bronx News 12 story. Martha had filed her taxes at a Bronx storefront, owned by Mark Goldberg, but she became suspicious when she could not get a copy of her return. Martha and her friend had stood on line with up to 1,000 other fixed-income filers who were promised significant refunds. Martha called News 12 when she was not getting a response and Joe Mauceri, Bronx News 12 Reporter contacted us to check her return. It turned out Martha, was only eligible for a NYC 210 school tax credit of $63 not the $1,000+ promised by Goldberg. UNHP/Ariva’s site supervisor accompanied Martha to the IRS and she filed an amended return. Mark Goldberg, the Bronx tax preparer, was later charged by the Manhattan District Attorney with 46 counts of filing tax returns with the IRS and New York State that contained over 7 million in fraudulent deductions and credits resulting in 2.5 million in fraudulent refunds. Mr. Goldberg allegedly received over $400,000 in fees for the filing of these fraudulent returns. Check out the story at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjATkk1pTj8&list=UU_6okr4SqNt2eJimKjBe2Ug
As for Martha, she came to UNHP this year and again qualified for her $63 refund. Of her past tax troubles, she says “I never want to deal with that kind of experience again -It was awful - I say watch out!” Even though she very happy with the tax preparation services at UNHP, she frets “now I need to worry about my identity and identity theft.”
Bronx residents whose main income is social security are targeted for this type of scam. The preparer will charge a fee promising a higher refund than the starting credit of $63. Clients may not be aware that their claim is fraudulent, but are happy that they are getting a larger refund. In the Goldberg case, the preparer paid the consequences for fraud, but the individual could be held liable, too. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is – except of course for the free tax prep at UNHP!