Consumer fraud costs tax preparation firm $3.5M
Anne Milgram (D)
NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) -A tax preparation firm that sold deceptive high-cost refund anticipation loans has been ordered to pay $3.5 million in penalties and refunds.
New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram announced Tuesday that Malqui Financial Group, Inc. and Fast Tax Express Corp., both of which do business as "Malqui Tax," and owner Ceasar B. Malqui were found liable for hundreds of Consumer Fraud Act violations arising from deceptive sales of RALs to many of New Jersey's working poor.
"We will not permit tax preparers to victimize consumers with deceptive claims of 'instant tax refunds' when what they are really getting are costly loans paid from their tax refunds," Milgram said. "I am pleased that the Court has held those who perpetrated this scam accountable for their illegal actions."
The state issued charges against the defendants in March, 2007, alleging that Malqui and his companies violated the state's Consumer Fraud Act by using unconscionable commercial practices in connection with the sale and advertisement of its services, making misrepresentations in the sale and advertisement of its services, and by knowingly concealing, suppressing or omitting material facts.
In its ruling, the court found that Malqui and his companies targeted consumers eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the federal government's largest anti-poverty program.