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Accountant barred, accused of fabrication

An East Rockaway accountant has been permanently barred from preparing federal tax returns after prosecutors accused her of inflating credits and fabricating information, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday.

Without admitting guilt, Diana D. Bertocci-Aliffi signed the civil injunction sought by federal prosecutors, who said she had falsely put in the Indian Employment Tax Credits for Shinnecock Indian clients on at least 19 returns and possibly as many as 180. She had told them they were entitled to it just because they were Native Americans or lived on or near the Shinnecock reservation in Southampton. That credit goes only to employers for hiring Native Americans or people whose spouses are Native Americans.

Prosecutors from the justice department's tax division and the U.S. attorney's office on Long Island had also accused her of fabricating income and tax withholding on other clients' forms to get them larger refunds.

Reached by phone, Bertocci-Aliffi hung up Friday night without commenting.

The injunction was signed by U.S. District Court Judge Joanna Seybert in Central Islip. Bertocci-Aliffi's businesses are also barred from preparing taxes and helping prepare any documents for returns.

The injunction sought by prosecutors stemmed from a Suffolk County indictment in 2008.

Bertocci-Aliffi had pleaded guilty to 76 counts that included grand larceny, forgery, identity theft and other charges, all related to her tax preparation activities, justice department officials said. That covered the false filings of the Native Indian credit, prosecutors said. The charges also covered the theft of clients' identities when she filed fake returns for them without their knowledge and used the returns to get refund anticipation loans from the bank, with $750 to $1,500 diverted to her account as her tax preparation fee, prosecutors said.

She was sentenced to one to three years, according to prosecutors' complaint, and was imprisoned for about seven months in 2009.

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