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Tax Preparers From Flushing and Woodside Busted in Undercover Sting Operation

(Photo: Stock Unsplash @kellysikkema)

March 11, 2021 By Christian Murray

Three tax preparers—one from Flushing and two from Woodside—were busted for fraud following sting operations conducted by undercover investigators.

Yachun Lin, of ETS Tax Services on Main Street, was charged with tax fraud after she filed a return on behalf of an undercover investigator that contained bogus information in order to reduce the amount of taxes owed.

Meanwhile, Maria Isabel Chabur and her husband Nayib Chabur, who operated La Oficina en Astoria on 69th Street in Woodside, were also charged in a separate incident for also submitting a bogus return in order to decrease a “client’s” tax liability. The client was an investigator.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz warned the public to be careful when hiring someone to handle their taxes. Some preparers, authorities say, cut corners to please clients.

“We are now in the midst of tax season when thousands of people will seek assistance in filing their tax returns,” Katz said. “Unscrupulous action taken by a preparer could lead to serious liabilities for individuals.”

Lin, 53, was arraigned Wednesday and charged with criminal tax fraud, attempted grand larceny, forgery and other charges. She faces up to 18 years in prison.

According to the charges, an undercover investigator visited her office on March 22, 2019, and told Lin he needed his tax returns completed for 2017 and 2018.

Lin allegedly advised her “client” to use an address outside of New York City to save approximately $2,000 per year. She used a Westchester address that the investigator suggested and filled out the tax return. She allegedly forged the investigator’s signature and left the tax preparer’s information blank.

The maneuver allegedly saved her “client” approximately $4,500.

Meanwhile, the Chaburs were also arraigned Wednesday on charges of criminal tax fraud, forgery and other charges. The pair both face up to nine years in prison.

According to the charges, an uncover investigator entered the Chaburs’ office and sought assistance in filing a tax return in 2018.

The Chaburs allegedly filed a return that included a $5,500 IRA deduction that was never made and was not discussed with their “client.” They filled out the return and left the tax preparer’s signature blank.

The scheme saved the “client” just under $500.

“Hard-working New Yorkers entrust their tax preparer to operate in their best interest—and with integrity and honesty,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt in a statement.

“Tax preparers who abuse that trust are imperiling their clients, who are ultimately responsible for the returns they sign, and depriving the state of tax revenue for vital services,” Schmidt added.

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