Criminal Tax Fraud

Criminal Tax Fraud

Last July, John Cisneros, who prepares taxes, was indicted for preparing fraudulent returns and defrauding the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Cisneros, who was charged in New York State Supreme Court, faced several counts, including Criminal Tax Fraud in the First, Second, and Third Degrees. He is said to have prepared more than 1,000 fraudulent tax returns between 2009 and 2014. His clients received refunds that they were not entitled to and in most instances underpaid their taxes substantially.

Criminal tax fraud encompasses a broad range of offenses that cheat the government out of taxes owed. Examples include:

  • Willful failure to file a return
  • Willfully filing a false return
  • Intentionally failing to report all income
  • Knowingly claiming unauthorized deductions

Tax fraud crimes and their penalties range in severity from Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fifth Degree, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison, to Criminal Tax Fraud in the First Degree, a Class B felony that can send you to prison for up to 25 years. Which degree you are charged with depends on the individual circumstances of your case and how much money is involved.

  • Fifth Degree (NY Tax Law 1802): commission of any tax fraud act, as defined by the statute
  • Fourth Degree (NY Tax Law 1803): the fraud amount is between $3,000 and $10,000 over a one-year period
  • Third Degree (NY Tax Law 1804): the fraud amount is between $10,000 and $50,000 over a one-year period
  • Second Degree (NY Tax Law 1805): the fraud amount is between $50,000 and $1,000,000 over a one-year period
  • First Degree (NY Tax Law 1806): the fraud amount is more than $1,000,000 stolen within a one-year period, or a failure to charge sales tax

If you are charged with any form of Criminal Tax Fraud, then contact an experienced defense attorney immediately. Prison sentences aside, a conviction for a tax crime will leave you with a criminal record and have a detrimental effect on your career, restrict you from certain certifications and licenses, and have other damaging ramifications. A criminal defense attorney will protect your rights, provide you with expert legal guidance, and work to present the best applicable defense for your situation.

Perhaps there are discovery issues that could be interpreted to your advantage, so work with an attorney who understands the complicated financial audits that accompany tax fraud cases and has access to hire qualified and competent tax professionals to counter the government tax experts. For you to be convicted of tax evasion, the prosecution must prove that you intentionally tried to evade paying taxes or being assessed for tax. If your actions were not willful, their case is weakened, something that a good tax defense attorney will be aware of.

If you are charged with criminal tax fraud, then qualified and experienced legal counsel is the best investment toward your freedom and your future. Julie Rendelman is a New York City criminal defense attorney with over 20 years of legal experience. She understands the judicial system inside and out, having worked as a prosecutor in the Kings County District Attorney’s Office. Ms. Rendelman offers free consultations and can be reached at 212-951-1232. Visit to learn more about Ms. Rendelman.