A Somerville-based tax preparer who embellished numerous tax filings, and forged clients' signatures on checks from the treasury so she could cash them, was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday.
Rosa Ivette Colon, 44, owner of X-Press Taxes, pumped up tax returns by thousands of dollars for clients by submitting false information to the IRS, including one instance where she put the 2-year-old child of one client on another client's 1040 form as a dependent, according to one court filing.
Colon, who is from Milford, provided her clients with another set of 1040 forms that she falsely presented as copies of what was sent to the IRS.
Along with the prison sentence, Colon was ordered to pay $400,000 in restitution.
On at least four occasions, Colon forged signatures on checks totaling $25,000 from the US Treasury to clients in order to cash them for herself, according to federal prosecutors. She also allegedly lied on her own taxes, claiming she had taxes withheld for being employed by a company she never worked for.
At least once, she filed a tax return for a person without their knowledge in order to collect the return for herself, according to court filings.
The evidence against Colon dates from 2008 to 2011, and she prepared taxes for hundreds of clients between 2004 and 2010, according to prosecutors.
Colon was indicted in December 2011 in US District Court in Boston on 32 counts, including charges of false claims on a tax return for a client; false claims on a personal tax return; four counts of forging endorsements on treasury checks; and aggravated identity theft. She reached an agreement to plead guilty in August 2012.
On Tuesday, District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton sentenced her to 61 months in federal prison, three years supervised released, and ordered she pay $400,000 in restitution to the IRS.
“Filing false tax returns and taking advantage of innocent taxpayers is a serious crime,” US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said in a statement. “It is especially troubling when such fraud is
committed by professionals who were trusted by their clients to submit accurate returns to the IRS."