A Jersey City man was among four busted in a nearly $247,000 Hawaii tax fraud scheme that involved filing false tax returns, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced.
The defendants were indicted in “Operation Coast to Coast,” a joint investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Cyber Crimes Bureau, New Jersey State Police Cyber Crimes Unit, New Jersey Division of Taxation-Office of Criminal Investigation, and State of Hawaii Department of Taxation, authorities said.
The investigation began with a referral from the Hawaii Department of Taxation, which identified a number of New Jersey residents who fraudulently obtained tax refunds.
Mylove Tetterton, 45, of East Orange, who led the scheme, faces a sentence of 12 years in prison. Her husband, Anthony Hodges, 44, was sentenced to prison yesterday, and because they have young children, she will be allowed to serve her sentence once he is released.
Tetterton pleaded guilty on April 19th, 2019 to money laundering and trafficking in personal identifying information in the Hawaii case and she is awaiting sentencing.
She also pleaded guilty to a separate accusation charging her with theft by deception and misconduct by a corporate official in connection with tax fraud against the state of New Jersey and the United States from 2012 to 2015.
In that scheme, Tetterton filed fraudulent tax returns on behalf of her clients to obtain New Jersey tax refunds that they were not entitled to receive. She is responsible for restitution to the State of New Jersey, Division of Taxation, in the amount of $56,592 and restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in an amount of $22,542.
She faces a sentence of five years in prison on those charges, concurrent to the longer sentence for the Hawaii tax scheme.
Hodges, who assisted his wife in the Hawaii scheme, was sentenced yesterday to five years in state prison by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez. He pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy.
Furthermore, Reginald Haines, 51, of Neptune, was sentenced on Feb. 15, 2019 to three years in state prison by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Mirtha Ospina. He pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy.
Constantine Kunaka, 27, of Jersey City, faces a recommended sentence of three years in prison. He is awaiting sentencing. On Feb. 15th, he pleaded guilty in a related investigation to an accusation charging him with receiving stolen property and filing fraudulent tax returns with the State of New Jersey.
He must pay $238,693 in restitution to the State of New Jersey.
“Tetterton was prolific in filing false tax returns, recruiting a crew of relatives and friends to convert nearly a quarter of a million dollars in ill-gotten refund checks into cash,” Grewal said in a statement.
“We are determined to stop this type of fraud, which is costly to taxpayers everywhere, and in this case, we worked jointly with special agents in Hawaii to uncover this scheme and bring those responsible to justice.”
The following defendants pleaded guilty to third-degree charges and were sentenced yesterday (where noted with *) to sentences of probation, or are awaiting sentencing and face sentences of probation:
Jean Allen, 49, of Egg Harbor Township
*Jasmire Coar, 29, of Jersey City
Jamal Coar, 30, of Jersey City
*Jermaine Thomas, 47, of Jersey City
*Kevin Grant, 50, of Jersey City
*Yolanda Terry, 44, of Freehold
*Karen Bristol-Thomas, 55, of Whitesboro
*Max Clairsin, 27, of Jersey City
*Rosetta Hodges, 37, of Neptune
Joseph Pierce, 49, of New Brunswick
*Gabriel Daravina, 44, of Roselle
*William Young, 58, of Jersey City
Additionally, six other defendants will be admitted into the Pre-Trial Intervention Program.