Tax preparer from Hillside charged with filing false tax returns

NEWARK — A Union County, tax preparer with an office in Essex County, was arrested Monday on charges of aiding and abetting in the filing of two dozen false tax returns, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced.

Darlene Covington, 31, of Hillside, was indicted by a federal grand jury on April 10, and charged with 24 counts of aiding and abetting in the filing of false tax returns. She made her initial appearance today before U.S. Judge Joseph Dickson in Newark federal court and was released on $75,000 unsecured bond.

According to the documents filed in the case and statements made in court: Covington worked as a tax preparer for KCJ Financial Corp., a tax preparation business in Irvington. During 2009 and 2010, Covington filed 24 false tax returns for tax years 2008 and 2009, using false information and personal identification information without the knowledge, consent or permission of the individuals named in the tax returns.

Covington then applied for refund acceleration loans from financial institutions for each of the fraudulent refunds and earned a portion of each loan she secured. The refunds were given to a third-party.

The false filing charges with which Covington is charged each carry a maximum potential penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Fishman credited special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Larsen, and investigators of the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the investigation leading to the charges.

The charges in the indictment are mere accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.