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Department of Taxation and Finance

“Operation Breaking Bad Preparers” Nets Three Additional Arrests in The Bronx Latest arrests bring total to 12 in operation to crack down on tax fraud

For Release: Immediate,

For press inquiries only, contact: James Gazzale, 518-457-7377

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today announced three additional arrests as part of an effort to crack down on tax preparers filing fraudulent income tax returns. “Operation Breaking Bad Preparers” has now resulted in a dozen arrests.

“Protecting the integrity and fairness of the tax system—ensuring a level playing field for all—extends beyond the income tax filing season,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “It’s a year-round effort, and these additional arrests should serve as a warning to all tax preparers who attempt to defy the law and violate their obligation to clients, who are responsible for the returns they sign.”

Michael De La Cruz, 24, Daisy Guzman, 34, and Natanael Lantigua, 27, are tax preparers at Gold Mind Taxes in The Bronx. They’re accused of claiming an unusually high number of dependents on New York State tax returns to maximize their clients’ refunds. The Tax Department’s fraud prevention measures discovered that the dependents claimed on the returns all had social security numbers tied to residents in Puerto Rico.

De La Cruz and Guzman were preparing returns from a Gold Mind Taxes location at 1213 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, while Lantigua was preparing returns from the business’s 520 E 183rd Street, Bronx, location.

Each is charged with offering a false instrument for filing, a felony, and misdemeanor criminal tax fraud.

The Office of Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark will prosecute the case.

Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark said, “These preparers not only allegedly cheated the state out of tax dollars; they put taxpayers who were doing their civic duty in a terrible position. Unbeknownst to the clients, the preparers allegedly filed returns that claimed numerous fictitious dependents. This dishonesty will not be tolerated.”

A criminal complaint is only an accusation; the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Earlier this month, Tax Department investigators arrested nine other tax preparers also accused of felony tax crimes, including fraud and offering a false instrument for filing.

If you’re aware of a tax preparer who has engaged in illegal or improper conduct, you can file a tax preparer complaint online or contact the NYS Tax Department at 518-530-HELP (option #2). The information is kept confidential. The Tax Department promptly reviews each complaint and takes corrective action when appropriate.