Charges: Tax preparer cost Minnesota $1.4M by lying on clients' returns


A Minneapolis tax preparer is accused of costing the state of Minnesota more than $1.4 million in lost revenue after she lied on hundreds of her clients' tax returns.

Rona Estelle Griffin, 51, is also alleged to have lied on her own income and business tax returns. She has been charged with 53 felonies in what Hennepin County Attorney says is the biggest tax fraud case it has ever filed.

Between 2009 and 2013, Griffin filed hundreds of tax returns through her company HAH Broker Inc. in which she "consistently lied about [clients '] charitable contributions and about business expenses that were not reimbursed," according to a criminal complaint.

She would report on their tax forms that they contributed 10 percent of their salaries to charities, even though many contributed nothing or just a few hundred dollars. She sometimes also changed her clients' occupations on tax forms.

It saved her clients thousands of dollars, but KARE 11 reports that these people now face having to repay the money they owe back.

"They paid to have a proper return prepared and what they got was junk," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said.

"This is the result of brazen cheating. Ten people are reflected in the complaint who were cheated and many more, we believe, were cheated," he added.

She is also accused of failing to file a tax return for HAH Broker between 2010 and 2013, and a tax return filed in 2009 is said to have "dramatically understated" the company's profits.

The Star Tribune reports that Griffin, who ran her company from her home in Champlin before moving to north Minneapolis, is not currently in custody.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 9.55.05 PM

Small plane lands on northbound I-35W in Twin Cities

A large police presence is at the scene.


Judge orders Minnesota gym that defied shutdown to close

Attorney General Keith Ellison sued the gym after it remained open.

montana cutbank

Charges: Man shot victim 'without provocation' using sawed-off shotgun

The incident happened on Nov. 24 in Ten Lake Township, located in Beltrami County.

Governor Tim Walz

Watch live: Walz, first responders address Minnesotans

Some departments have been forced to shift staffing or suspend service due to COVID-19.

covid-19, coronavirus

CDC says COVID-19 quarantine period can be cut to 10 or 7 days

You can come out of a 7-day quarantine following exposure provided you've had a negative test.

maple grove fire

1 person found dead inside Maple Grove business that burned down

A person had been unaccounted following the fire that destroyed Hanson Implement and Storage Tuesday night.

One-dollar bill, cash, money

Appeals court rules MN high school students can get unemployment benefits

They've been denied the benefits, and some were even asked to pay them back.

covid-19, coronavirus

Dec. 2 COVID-19 update: 77 more deaths in Minnesota

The death toll is closing in on 3,700 in Minnesota.

City Pages

Fan creates City Pages archive, Star Tribune tells him to remove it

After word spread that the defunct newspaper's website would go down, a fan created his own copy. Then he got a cease and desist letter.

Adam Thielen

Vikings activate Adam Thielen off COVID-19/reserve list

The star receiver missed last week's victory over Carolina.

Screen Shot 2020-12-02 at 10.27.14 AM

Naked man shot by St. Paul cop is charged for sexual assault of ex-girlfriend

The 31-year-old suspect remains at Regions Hospital after being shot.