Chino Hills tax preparers found guilty of state income tax fraud
A Chino Hills couple was found guilty of four felony counts of state income tax fraud, we announced on November 16, 2009.
Aloysius (Al) Vivo, 55, and Rachel Vivo, 47, operate a tax preparation business, Vivo-Cota & Associates aka Vivo & Associates. According to court documents, the pair fraudulently filed their tax year 2000 personal tax return by falsely claiming the Child and Dependent Care (CDC) credit and understating their gross receipts. The Vivos claimed the CDC credit for expenses that were never paid on a child whose age made him ineligible for the credit. They also filed fraudulent tax year 2000 returns for three of the cappers they hired to locate new clients. The Vivos again claimed fraudulent CDC credits for each capper and failed to report the income they paid to each capper. The couple faces a maximum state prison term of five years in state prison.
The Vivos are also currently under prosecution in San Bernardino County Superior Court on criminal charges of allegedly filing fraudulent 2001 - 2002 personal income tax returns. Their next scheduled court appearance is December 21. Charges were filed in both counties due to the Vivo’s move from Riverside County to San Bernardino County.
While the majority of tax preparers provide excellent service to their clients, this case raised almost every red flag listed in the Internal Revenue Service’s and our brochure, How to Select an Income Tax Return Preparer, FTB 982:
- Clients never met the Vivos. The three contractors handled the delivery of all forms.
- The Vivos did not sign the returns as required by law.
- The Vivos directed the IRS and us to mail clients’ tax refund checks to their personal address or those of the cappers. The Vivos illegally cashed these refund checks.
- Clients were not provided a copy of their returns until after payment was received limiting the time clients had to review the returns for accuracy.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Larrie R. Brainard accepted the verdict Tuesday, November 10, in Division C1 of the Corona Superior Court. Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Homan Hosseinioun prosecuted the case. The Vivos’ sentencing is scheduled for January 8, 2010, in Department C1 of the Corona Superior Court.
With the tax season only a few weeks away, we remind taxpayers to make sure the preparer they choose is a licensed CPA, public accountant, enrolled agent, attorney, or is a registered tax preparer with the California Tax Education Council. It is important to know that even if someone else prepares your return, you are ultimately responsible for all the information on the tax return.