ST. PAUL, Minn. – A Rochester tax return preparer has been indicted for tax fraud.
A federal grand jury is charging Mercedes Maldonado Rodriguez with 33 counts of aggravated identity theft, seven counts of theft of public money, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. The indictment says Rodriguez operated a tax return business in Rochester from 2008 through April 2013 and is accused of buying legitimate Mexican birth certificates and using them to get Taxpayer Identification Numbers from the IRS.
Federal authorities say Rodriguez would then use those ID number to file phony tax returns that claimed refunds based on things like tax credits for non-existent dependents. Rodriguez is accused of having those refund checks cashed after they were mailed to addresses belonging to her co-conspirators, employees, and family members.
Rodriguez faces 10 years in prison for conspiracy, 10 years for each count of theft of public money, and two years for identity theft.