Arizona Tax Preparer Sentenced to One Year in Jail for Preparing Fraudulent Returns

PHOENIX – Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced today that Roberto De La O was sentenced to one year of jail for preparing 118 fraudulent Arizona individual income tax returns for tax years 2014-2017.

De La O prepared Arizona personal income tax returns that reported falsified income and withholding through fraudulent forms W-2 or 1099-Miscellaneous issued by Red Home LLC, a shell corporation owned by De La O based in Phoenix, which conducted no business. The increase of income and withholding on tax returns resulted in taxpayers illegally receiving larger returns. Taxpayers were unaware of the additional income reporting documents included with their returns. Although taxpayers who are unaware of fraudulent entries made by their tax preparer are not subject to criminal prosecution, they are responsible for the repayment of the refund and any additional taxes that may be due along with interest.

In March 2020, De La O pleaded guilty to fraudulent schemes and artifices, and two counts of preparing a false tax return. In addition to one year of jail, De La O must pay an $18,000 fine, $46,053 in restitution payable to the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR), and will be placed on seven years of probation with white-collar terms.

Assistant Attorney General Mary Harriss prosecuted this case. The Arizona Department of Revenue’s Criminal Investigation Unit investigated the matter.

The Arizona Department of Revenue reminds taxpayers to carefully review their returns prior to filing and if they have concerns about their tax preparer to contact ADOR’s Criminal Investigation Unit at (602) 542-4023 or by email at DorCriminalinv@azdor.gov.