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New York man sentenced for tax crime

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ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Revenue announced that Hailong Li, known to his clients as Jeff Li, of New Hyde Park, N.Y., has been sentenced by a Ramsey County District Court judge to three years of probation and a $4,000 fine after being convicted on one count of aiding in the filing of false or fraudulent sales tax returns.

Mr. Li was originally charged in August 2020 with two felony counts of aiding in the filing of false or fraudulent sales tax returns and one felony count of manufacturing and providing sales suppression devices. According to the criminal complaint, Mr. Li helped two Minnesota restaurants use sales suppression software to modify their sales records in order to reduce the amount of sales tax they owed when filing their sales tax returns. The complaint alleged that computer forensic evidence showed that Mr. Li was fully aware of how his software was being used in Minnesota.

Minnesota Department of Revenue Commissioner Robert Doty said, “This conviction is a win for all the Minnesota businesses that pay their fair share of taxes and expect other businesses to do the same. We are thankful for the assistance in the investigation and prosecution of this case from our colleagues at the NYC Department of Finance and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office as well as the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office and the Minnesota Department of Human Services.”

New York City Department of Finance Commissioner Sherif Soliman said, "The New York City Department of Finance (DOF) congratulates the Minnesota Department of Revenue and its Criminal Investigation Division, along with the Ramsey County Attorney's Office, for their successful prosecution of Jeff Li for abetting the violation of required filings of Minnesota's sales tax returns. DOF’s Office of Tax Enforcement was pleased to assist our colleagues in Minnesota in its investigation, and we thank them, the New York County District Attorney's Office and the New York City Department of investigation for their work on this investigation.  DOF will continue to combat tax fraud in New York City and assist our colleagues across the nation to enforce, city, state, and federal law."

Although most taxpayers comply with tax laws voluntarily, the department takes enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers to ensure that tax laws are administered fairly.

Many of the department’s criminal case referrals come from public tips. There is a 24-hour tip line for anyone who suspects that a person or business is violating Minnesota tax laws. Local callers may dial 651-297-5195 or call toll-free by dialing 1-800-657-3500. Tips can also be submitted to the department by email at tax.fraud@state.mn.us. Tipsters may choose to remain anonymous. 

Get the latest news and updates from the Minnesota Department of Revenue by following the department on Facebook and Twitter or by signing up for our email subscription list.

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Ryan Brown
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