A.G. Schneiderman Arrests Former NYS Tax Agent For Stealing Thousands Of Taxpayer Dollars
Defendant Preyed On Spanish-Speaking New Yorkers To Skim Thousands Intended For State
Schneiderman: Abuse The Public Trust & You Will Be Prosecuted
QUEENS – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced the arrest and arraignment of a former employee of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance for stealing taxpayer money. Dianna Raphael, who worked in the agency’s Queens District Office, faces criminal charges for preying on Spanish-speaking New Yorkers to pocket thousands of dollars, including Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Forgery and Defrauding the Government.
"Instead of assisting New Yorkers in paying their taxes, this former employee targeted and stole from the Spanish-speaking citizens she was supposed to help,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. "Her actions not only defrauded those taxpayers out of their hard-earned cash, but also deprived New York State of needed revenue in the middle of a budget crisis. This arrest is a warning: if you abuse the public trust, you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
According to the indictment, Ms. Raphael abused her role as a tax Compliance Agent from December 2010 through April 2011 by engaging in a fraudulent scheme. Ms. Raphael accepted tax payments from Spanish-speaking New Yorkers and kept the money for herself, rather than processing it as required by law.
The Attorney General charged Ms. Raphael with forging official documents to deceive taxpayers into believing that they had made payments toward their tax liabilities and then failing to properly record these payments in the computer system of New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. The indictment further charges that the scheme resulted in Raphael stealing more than $3,000 that should have gone to the state.
The Attorney General began the investigation after being contacted by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance. Ms. Raphael confessed to a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent that she tricked taxpayers into giving her cash payments, which are not accepted by the Tax Department. She stated that she preyed only upon Spanish-speakers, because they were "ignorant,” and admitted that she stole between $6,000 and $7,000 as a result of her scheme.
Ms. Raphael faces 10 felony charges. If convicted, Raphael could face between 2 and 1/3 to 7 years in state prison.
The criminal prosecution was conducted by Assistant Attorneys General YuJin Hong and Simon Brandler, under the supervision of Public Integrity Bureau Deputy Bureau Chief Stacy Aronowitz, Chief William E. Schaeffer and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Nancy Hoppock.
The charges are merely accusations and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.