Posts Tagged ‘RoniDeutch’

Criminal Charges Dropped Against Roni Deutch

Saturday, August 8th, 2015

Back in 2009, the law firm of Roni Deutch was a huge deal. She was the “Tax Lady,” and her face and advertisements were plastered all over television. Then she was sued by the state of California. And then came the criminal indictments–perhaps the largest criminal indictment in California history.

Fast forward five years, and it’s all over. California has dropped the criminal indictments, and instead of paying $34 million she’ll be paying $2.5 million in the civil suit (per her lawyer). She will also pay $10,000 in fines and must perform 350 hours of community service. Ms. Deutch, who dropped her law license, can even reapply for that.

Unhappy Clients of Roni Deutch Talk to the Bee

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

If you want to follow the Roni Deutch case, I strongly urge you to read the coverage in the Sacramento Bee. For example, on Sunday they spoke with several unhappy clients of Ms. Deutch. For the most part it appears that these individuals received initial consultations and then…nothing.

As for the firms that still advertise and promise you that they’ll stop the IRS, and you will qualify to pay “pennies on the dollar,” remember that:

  • Only about 15% of Offers in Compromise successfully make it through the IRS;
  • It typically takes over one year for an OIC to make it through the IRS;
  • Most individuals will not qualify for an OIC; and
  • If you look at the fine print of the commercials, you will see, “Case not typical.  Your results may vary.”

Peter Pappas notes,

I am willing, however, to give Ms. Deutch the benefit of the doubt. I don’t believe that she set out to defraud her customers. I think what happened is that she let the marketing arm of the business outpace the operations arm. She simply accepted more clients than her firm could competently handle and committed the fatal mistake of continuing to accept more money and more engagements without properly ensuring that the work for which she had already been engaged was being done on a timely and competent basis.

This analysis sounds quite reasonable. Still, I feel for the individuals who contracted with Ms. Deutch’s firm expecting a service, but apparently getting nothing.

Tax Lady in Court

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

“Tax Lady” Roni Deutch appeared in court on Friday; she pleaded not guilty to contempt of court charges in Sacramento. She’s accused of violating court orders by shredding 2.7 million documents in violation of a court order. Meanwhile, the company she founded is being run by a court appointed receiver.

Speaking of pruning blogs, one of the ones that I pruned is Roni Deutch’s Tax Lady blog. Since her legal troubles began, her blog has gone on hiatus. I suspect her blog won’t be reappearing any time soon.

Unladylike Behavior or Election Year Politics?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Earlier this week California Attorney General (and Democratic candidate for Governor) Jerry Brown filed a $34 Million lawsuit against the Roni Deutch Law Firm. Ms. Deutsch (who has a tax blog) and her law firm focus on representing taxpayers in Offers In Compromise. Her firm is one of several that have television infomercials. From the press release of the California Attorney General:

“Tax Lady Roni Deutch is engaged in a heartless scheme that swindled people with tax problems,” Brown said. “She promises to significantly reduce their IRS tax debts, but instead preys on their vulnerability, taking large up-front payments but providing little or no help in lowering their tax bills.”

Deutch manufactures credibility by boasting that her tax resolution law firm, which has annual revenues of at least $25 million, is the largest of its kind in the nation. She spends $3 million a year on advertising, much of it on late-night cable TV, and frequently offers tax advice on NBC’s Today Show, CNN, and CNBC.

Desperate debtors turn to Deutch based on her misleading ads that feature fictional testimonials claiming she secured large reductions in the featured clients’ federal tax debts.

However, Ms. Deutch has a very different view of the lawsuit. Her response appeared on her tax blog today, where she stated:

I believe the California Attorney General’s civil complaint against my law firm and me to simply be election year politics. My law firm has been representing taxpayers before the IRS for almost 20 years. We have saved thousands of people tens of millions of dollars. And I have fully cooperated with the California Attorney General’s Office over the past few months. As a result, I am very disappointed in their decision to file a complaint, but I look forward to a full and fair airing of this matter in a court of law where my law firm and I will aggressively and vigorously defend the claims against us, and I am absolutely confident we will prevail.

For the record, I’ve had clients who have come from firms where they can settle for “pennies on the dollar.” Sure, some truly destitute individuals do get such offers through the IRS bureaucracy; however, most individuals do not. Many of these firms require extremely large up-front payments before they will do any work on your behalf. (I have never had a client come to me from the Deutch firm, and I have no idea if that is the case for them or not.)

Mr. Brown is locked in a very tight battle with Republican Meg Whitman to be the next governor of the Golden State. Time will tell whether this lawsuit had basis in facts or electioneering.