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Long IslandCrime

Tax preparer gets year in prison for filing 47 false returns

A tax preparer who operated out of Bay Shore will serve a year and a day in prison after pleading guilty to preparing fraudulent tax returns for her clients, federal authorities said.

Thelma Rodriguez-Garden, 55, who owned Garden Insurance Agency Corp., was sentenced to the term and must pay $107,459 in restitution for preparing up to 47 bogus returns from tax years 2008 through 2011.

The sentence was announced in a news release Tuesday by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

Rodriguez-Garden was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco in Central Islip eight months after she pleaded guilty. She also must serve 1 year of supervised release.

Her attorney could not be reached for comment.

Officials said Rodriguez-Garden prepared returns that included “falsities, grossly inflated or wholly fictitious itemized deductions for unreimbursed employee expenses” resulting in a loss of more than $100,000 to the Internal Revenue Service.

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