A Salem County woman today admitted signing false tax returns for shell companies resulting in $286,742 in fraudulent refunds, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced.
Officials said Marilyn Crespo, 50, of Carney’s Point, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief District Judge Jose L. Linares in Newark federal court to an information charging her one count of filing a false corporate tax return for tax year 2009.
According to the documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Crespo previously resided in Guttenberg, New Jersey. At the direction of her husband, Jose Crespo, she signed under penalty of perjury numerous false corporate tax returns, Forms 1120, for fake businesses, knowing that the businesses were not real and that the credits claimed on the tax returns were false.
In signing these false tax returns, Marilyn Crespo took advantage of fuel excise tax credits offered under federal tax law. The federal government taxes gasoline, diesel fuel, and certain other types of fuel, but certain commercial uses of these fuels are nontaxable. Businesses that purchase fuel for a nontaxable use can claim a tax credit by filing Form 4136 entitled “Credit for Federal Tax Paid on Fuels.”
According to authorities, Marilyn Crespo signed a federal corporate tax return for 2009 for Magnum Cleaning Service Corp. that claimed gross receipts of $115,027, a fuel excise tax credit of $20,859 and a resulting refund of $15,750.
In fact, Magnum was a shell company and the gross receipts and fuel excise tax credit numbers were false. Marilyn Crespo received and cashed the $15,750 refund check at a check-cashing facility in Guttenberg. She cashed many other refund checks for similar false tax returns at this same check-cashing facility.
Authorities said Jose Crespo pleaded guilty on Sept. 11, 2017, before Judge Linares, to engaging in the fuel excise tax credit scheme and another tax fraud scheme and causing an anticipated loss to the IRS of nearly $1.5 million. He was sentenced Dec. 20, 2017, to three years in prison.
The count of filing a false tax return carries a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison, and a potential $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense.
Sentencing is set for June 20, 2018.