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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information:

July 21, 2006

Office of The Attorney General
- Zulima V. Farber, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Gregory A. Paw, Director


Peter Aseltine

Paterson Man Indicted for Allegedly Stealing $210,000
by Filing False Claims for State Tax Refunds and Homestead Rebates

TRENTON – Attorney General Zulima V. Farber and Division of Criminal Justice Director Gregory A. Paw announced that a Paterson man has been indicted on charges that he stole $210,035 by fraudulently obtaining and cashing hundreds of New Jersey tax refund checks and homestead rebate checks.

According to Director Paw, Mack Barden, 58, of Paterson, was indicted Monday by a state grand jury on charges of money laundering and theft by deception, both second-degree offenses. Barden was arrested last night in Lodi by an investigator from the Division of Criminal Justice - Major Financial Crimes Bureau assisted by the Passaic County Sheriff's Office.

An investigation by the state Division of Taxation revealed that Barden, a truck driver who earns additional income by preparing tax returns, submitted hundreds of fraudulent New Jersey gross income tax returns and homestead rebate applications between 1997 and 2005 using false names and social security numbers. Barden allegedly submitted altered W-2 forms with the tax returns, including forms from his tax preparation clients.

According to Paw, Barden allegedly obtained and cashed 418 state tax refund checks totaling $197,837 and 120 state homestead rebate checks totaling $12,198. Each of the returns and applications allegedly filed by Barden listed as an address either a post office box in Haledon leased by Barden or a mailbox in Paterson that he leased.

“This man allegedly saw tax season as open season to steal from the state,” said Attorney General Farber. “We will ensure that he pays for his alleged crime, which was uncovered by the Division of Taxation and referred to the Division of Criminal Justice for prosecution.”

“We allege that the defendant was, in essence, cloning taxpayers by repeatedly altering genuine W-2 forms and attaching them to new tax returns,” said Criminal Justice Director Paw. “His greed caught up with him when state officials noticed that numerous tax refunds were going to the same post office box.”

“Tax fraud is a crime that victimizes all taxpayers,” said Division of Taxation Deputy Director Maureen Adams. “We are pleased that our joint enforcement efforts, which are ongoing and vigilant, resulted in this indictment.”

Barden allegedly used white correction liquid to alter the W-2 forms. He allegedly cashed the checks against his personal bank accounts or through independent check cashing agencies.

The case was presented to the state grand jury by Deputy Attorney General Denise Grugan. The investigation was conducted by Auditor Lee Roach of the Division of Taxation - Office of Criminal Investigation.

The indictments were handed up yesterday to Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg in Mercer County. Crimes of the second degree carry sentences of up to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

New Jersey’s homestead rebates are available to residents who are disabled or at least 65, who meet specified income restrictions, and who pay property taxes, directly or through rent.

>> Barden Indictment (208k pdf) plug-in

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