The owner of a South Jersey accounting business was sentenced Wednesday to 37 months in prison for filing false tax returns, stealing refunds from clients, and using the money for personal expenses that included purchases at Bloomingdale's, Victoria's Secret, and the Diamond Center, according to court records.
Doreen Gentile, 62, of Toms River, also had been accused of taking several years worth of Social Security payments sent to a client who had died, according to court records.
On Wednesday, Gentile - originally indicted in 2014 - appeared before U.S. District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez in Camden, where she was sentenced on charges of mail fraud and filing a false income tax return.
Rodriguez also ordered that Gentile serve three years of supervised probation and pay restitution of $1.8 million. Gentile is free on bail pending a date to report to the Bureau of Prisons.
Gentile owned and operated her accounting business, Doreen A. Gentile & Associates LLC, out of her Toms River home.
Gentile admitted in court that from 2006 through 2009, she failed to report all her income to the IRS, including money she stole from clients that resulted in tax losses to the federal government of approximately $188,811.
According to court documents, Gentile admitted she showed clients in South and Central New Jersey tax returns that indicated that they had no tax or refund due, owed a minimal amount, or were due a refund that was far less than the amount to which they were entitled. Gentile then prepared a second set of tax returns that she submitted to the IRS or the State of New Jersey for the full tax refund.
Based on the second set of returns, the IRS or the state issued tax refund checks to Gentile's firm that she deposited in the company's bank account without her clients' permission. Afterward, Gentile used the money to pay personal expenses, according to authorities.
Gentile scammed 10 victims, manipulating financial records so she could collect checks issued by the government, according to the 2014 indictment.
One client's Social Security checks arrived by mail from 1990 until 2003, the indictment said. From April 2003 through July 2009, the benefit was deposited directly into a bank account even after the client died in 2005.
Authorities alleged in 2014 that the Social Security Administration was not notified of the death and that for nearly four years Gentile stole about $105,000 by writing checks from the deceased's bank account.
Last year, Gentile entered a plea agreement admitting she stole from her clients, in exchange for a reduction of charges included in the 2014 indictment. Had she gone to trial and been convicted of all the charges, she could have faced 20 years in prison.