Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rockland DA Amnesty Program Allows Homeowners Claiming Illegal Homestead Tax Exemptions To Voluntarily Step Up, Fork Over Fraudulently-Obtained Property Tax Discounts Or Face Criminal Prosecution

From the Office of the Rockland County, New York District Attorney:

  • Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe [] announced a unique amnesty program to allow STAR program violators to pay up and avoid criminal charges and possible arrest.

    The amnesty initiative comes during an ongoing effort to root out county residents who are double-dipping their STAR, or New York State School Tax Relief property tax break.

    During the past eleven months, detectives in the Special Investigations Unit have already uncovered more than $679,000 in improperly or fraudulently claimed STAR exemptions from 2012 representing a grand total from Rockland’s five towns.

    District Attorney Zugibe said, “STAR is only available on your primary residence, but our investigation has identified dozens of individuals who own two homes and get the exemption on both. Our figures represent the tip of the iceberg. Those who double-dip STAR exemptions are cheating the system, at a time when the state’s finite resources are of critical importance.”

    STAR is New York's version of a homestead exemption or a property tax discount for an owner-occupied primary residence.
  • As part of the amnesty, those who have wrongfully taken exemptions have until April 1st, 2013 to take corrective measures and make good on their financial obligations. Those violators who fail to take advantage of the amnesty face considerable consequences, including criminal charges of theft, potential arrest, sizable fees and court costs and a criminal record.

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