Roni Deutch Prosecution | AccountingWEB

Roni Deutch Prosecution

One of today's AccountingWeb headlines is about the Tax Lady prosecution.

Roni is right about one thing, this IS election campaign time. What better way to get high visibility publicity than to go after highly visible names.

Jerry Brown is not a fool. Nor is he as wealthy as Meg Whitman. He jumped on the Bell payroll and pension scandals in a big way. Now he's after Roni. Why now? If this were a big issue, why didn't he do it before? After all, she's been running those ads for years? 

And why is Brown only going after her, personally? The income is generated by her franchise offices nationwide, where the work is done, or not done. How many of those clients do you really think Roni is working on herself? the hard question - are those claims really true?

Can the firm really get those results for everyone?

I don't know about Roni Deutch, But I spent several years working for a tax resolution firm that was doing extensive advertising, like her.

Here's what I learned:

1) Their advertising was deceptive. However, the president did allow me to re-write their copy so the ads became truthful.

2) Regarding of the billing (inflated charges?) - like in all accounting firms, everything was chargeable. Time spent calling IRS, time spent following up with the client to get their records or their information. Time spent following up with the client to get their records or their information. Time spent following up with the client to get their records or their information. Time spent following up with the client to get their records or their information. Oh...sorry, am I repeating myself? No. What ate up a lot of time was the clients themselves not meeting deadlines, not submitting the information or the records, or submitting incomplete information. These same people who were uncooperative with IRS, were (surprise, surprise) uncooperative with their representatives. Then, they would get angry because their retainer had been used up and nothing had been accomplished. Those are the people who would often  play the victim card.

3) The staff working for the firm, all former IRS Revenue Officers (collections officials) really cared. They worked their heart out for these people. They did their very best to get them fair and reasonable settlements, ethically.

4) The owners started out that way, too. But when they saw how much money they were making, they got greedy. They started doing so many unethical things (perhaps not entirely illegal), that we literally had such vehement screaming matches that the law firm across the hall had to come over and close the doors our offices.

a) They signed contracts with new clients even if it didn't really appear the firm could help them.

b) When the client could not pay the whole retainer up front, the contracts often called for installment payments. If the client had paid $2,000, but not the last $1,000, they would stop working the case until the full fee was paid. They would stop even if they had only used up $500 of the $2,000 retainer and let the client hang out to dry, because the final intallments were late. (a BIG screaming match about this!)

c) They arranged to receive a commission from a company (name was Boston something....) that would arrange to take over the homeowners' upside-down loan, with the idea that when it foreclosed, the foreclosure would appear on the Boston company's credit not the homeowner's. And that the ultimate cancellation of debt income would accrue to them, not the taxpayer. They charged several thousand dollars for this service. (Another big screaming match - not only unethical to collect the commission, but every one of their claims, with respect to credit and tax issues was proven to be false - and the company was ultimately in the news about the fraud.)

d) They started taking cash off the books. In fact, one client where I had done about 11 years worth of tax returns - and had collected the fee from them myself, showed up in their computer billing system as being 'pro bono'. I quit when I learned about this.

Anyway, there were enough complaints that the IRS raided that company (and two others) right after April 15th one year, long ago.

The other two companies went under.

This one survived - and is still operating.

What will happen to Roni Deutch?

Probably a bunch of publicity - and a heap of legal fees.

It will be hard to prove fraud...because - see point 2.


This blog

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".


William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.


Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (, a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.


Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website:
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.


Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.


AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.