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Richmond Hill tax worker convicted in boro scheme

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U.S. attorney for the Eastern District Roslynn Mauskopf said Yb-Lem Oskowitz, a tax return preparer and former employee at Quick Tax Service at 110-20 Jamaica Ave., was found guilty in a 10-count indictment of assisting in the preparation and filing of false tax returns. Oskowitz was convicted of misrepresenting their incomes so that they would receive large refund checks from the federal government.

"The message here is plain and simple," Mauskopf said. "If you are offered advice by a tax preparer that sounds too good to be true, don't believe it."

No charges had been filed against the 10 clients as of press time.

Oskowitz's conviction means she faces up to three years in prison and a possible $100,000 fine, Mauskopf said.

During the five-day trial at federal court in Brooklyn, prosecutors introduced evidence that included tape-recorded conversations Oskowitz had with undercover Internal Revenue Service agents during which she claimed she could get them hefty sums of money in tax refunds, Mauskopf said.

In the scheme, Oskowitz, of 94-15 115th St., would falsely state that the taxpayers' only income came from self-employment as babysitters or child care providers amounting to between $6,000 and $9,500, the prosecutor said. Each tax return, filed between late 1998 and early 1999, claimed the filers were eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, which lowers the amount owed by taxpayers and usually results in IRS refunds greater than the amount of taxes paid.

The U.S. attorney's office did not provide information about what advantage she gained from the transactions.

At trial prosecutors presented evidence that showed the 10 taxpayers were not self-employed and had reported false incomes below what they had earned. Mauskopf said Oskowitz made claims such as "Get your tax refund here - don't be fooled by others" and "Everyone qualifies" on fliers she distributed to customers - claims on which she could not deliver.

It took the jury five hours to convict Oskowitz of the crimes, the prosecutor said. The defendant will next be in court May 7 when she will be sentenced before U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis.

Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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