Phoenix tax service owner sentenced to 30 days in jail for falsifying returns

Jul 15, 2022, 8:00 PM

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick)...

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

PHOENIX – The owner of a Phoenix tax service was sentenced to 30 days in jail Friday for filing returns that included fake deductions, authorities said.

Connie Cozzolino, owner of Connie’s Tax Services, was also fined $16,500 and ordered to repay victims for economic loss, the Arizona Department of Revenue said in a press release.

The amount of the restitution will be determined at a later date.

Cozzolino, along with employees Richard Luttrull and Jennifer Lohss, were indicted on multiple charges, including 24 counts of preparing false state tax returns, according to the release.

They were accused of falsifying itemized deductions to increase tax refunds without the knowledge or consent of clients between 2013 and 2019.

Cozzolino, 59, pleaded no contest on June 8 to one count of fraudulent schemes and artifices between 2013 and 2019 and two counts of preparing a false return.

As part of the plea, she agreed she would no longer prepare taxes for compensation.

Luttrull, 43, and Lohss, 37, each pleaded guilty in May to two counts of preparing false return earlier this year and are awaiting sentencing. Luttrull is Cozzolino’s son.

Officials caution taxpayers to carefully review their returns for accuracy, including all schedules, before filing.

When inaccurate returns are submitted, purposefully or not, taxpayers are responsible for filing amended returns and paying back excess refunds or additional tax due, plus interest. The state revenue department said it doesn’t fine taxpayers who are victimized by their tax preparers.

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Phoenix tax service owner sentenced to 30 days in jail for falsifying returns