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Long IslandCrime

Garden Insurance Agency owner ‘inflated’ tax returns

The owner of a Bay Shore tax-preparation business pleaded guilty on Monday to preparing false tax returns, the Justice Department’s Tax Division announced.

Thelma Rodriguez-Garden, 54, of Bay Shore, included “grossly inflated” or “wholly fictitious itemized deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses” on 47 tax returns filed for clients of her tax-preparation business, Garden Insurance Agency, acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division said in a news release.

The false tax returns were filed for tax years 2008 through 2011 and cost the government more than $100,000, according to the release.

Rodriguez-Garden entered the plea in U.S. Eastern District Court in Central Islip on Monday.

“Today’s plea is a reminder that tax return preparers who knowingly include false items on their clients’ returns face criminal investigation, prosecution and incarceration,” Ciraolo said in the release.

Attorney Kevin Kearon of Garden City, representing Rodriguez-Garden, declined to comment.

Rodriguez-Garden agreed to pay $107,459 in restitution to the IRS as part of her plea agreement.

She faces a statutory maximum sentence of 3 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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