Las Vegas tax preparers face federal lawsuit

The Justice Department on Tuesday announced a lawsuit to bar a Las Vegas couple from preparing federal tax returns for others.

According to the complaint, Marge Cellini and Harry Portnoy repeatedly prepare tax returns that include false or inflated deductions for personal or business expenses to reduce their customers' federal income tax liabilities.

Cellini and Portnoy, who are married, do business as Tax Factory Inc. or Myst Inc. A woman who answered the phone Tuesday at the Tax Factory said that Cellini no longer worked there and that Portnoy was with a client.

According to the complaint, an Internal Revenue Service investigation revealed Cellini and Portnoy claimed refunds on nearly 90 percent of customers' returns. The lawsuit alleges they tried to hide their improper activity by not identifying themselves as preparers of tax returns, sometimes using the Social Security number of Cellini's ex-husband as their preparer identification number.

The IRS said nearly 1,000 federal tax returns were prepared by Cellini and Portnoy since 2001. The complaint alleges the defendants' misconduct may have cost the U.S. Treasury tens of millions of dollars.

Contact reporter Carri Geer Thevenot at or 702-384-8710.