Tax preparer and husband plead guilty to tax fraud scheme

TRENTON, NJ — Attorney Gen. Gurbir Grewal announced Nov. 22 that a tax preparer, her husband and a co-conspirator were sentenced to prison or face prison after pleading guilty for their roles in a scheme in which they stole hundreds of thousands of dollars by filing false tax returns with the state of Hawaii to obtain refunds. They tried to steal more than $400,000, but because some filings were denied, the actual loss was $246,667. Twelve other defendants face probation in the Hawaii tax fraud scheme. Another defendant faces prison in a related investigation involving tax fraud against the state of New Jersey. 

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. 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.

These defendants were sentenced or will be sentenced in Superior Court in Hudson County:

  • Mylove D. Tetterton, 45, of East Orange, who led the scheme, faces a sentence of 12 years in prison. Her husband, Anthony Hodges, was sentenced to prison yesterday, Nov. 21, and because they have young children, she will be allowed to serve her sentence once he is released. She is awaiting sentencing. She pleaded guilty April 19 to money laundering and trafficking in personal identifying information in the Hawaii case. Tetterton 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 IRS 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.
  • Anthony Hodges, 44, of East Orange, who assisted his wife in the Hawaii scheme, was sentenced Nov. 21 to five years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Mitzy Galis-Menendez. He pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy.
  • Reginald Haines, 51, of Neptune, was sentenced Feb. 15 to three years in state prison by 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. He pleaded guilty on Feb. 15, 2019, 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. “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.”