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"Tax-lady" Roni Deutch, an attorney whose TV commercials promised assistance with tax debts, defrauded thousands of people, Attorney General Jerry Brown says in a $34 million demand in Superior Court.

Deutch charged "thousands of dollars" in an "unlawful scam" that promised that she could get clients into IRS programs to resolve back taxes, while providing them "little or no assistance," according to the complaint.

The Deutch law firm employs about 160 people, including 45 full-time salespeople, according to the complaint. The state says Deutch's firm generates about $25 million in annual revenue and targets people "who are in financial distress and in danger of being subjected to IRS collection actions."

Deutch's legal fees range from $1,600 to $4,700, part of it up front, and the rest in monthly installments. "Defendants' advertisements contain materially false and misleading statements," the state says. "For instance, in an advertisement entitled 'It's Your Turn,' defendants claim to have 'saved' three particular clients from having to pay the IRS $12,000, $39,000, and $35,000 respectively. In fact, defendant did not save these particular clients any money, but merely placed them on currently not collectible status with the IRS, a kind of tax collection purgatory. Placing clients on currently not collectible status stops IRS collection efforts, but interest and penalties continue to accrue on the tax debt while the collection hold is in place.

If she's guilty, I hope Brown's prosecutors do a better job than those Illinois guys.

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