ROCKLAND, Maine — A Warren accountant — whom the state issued a public warning about last month — is being sued for allegedly doing poor tax preparation work for a Rockland couple.
On Jan. 21, Justice Jeffrey Hjelm approved an attachment of $20,718 against Valerie Alex, ruling that Randy and Jennifer Sturks were more likely than not to win a judgment against Alex.
The Sturkses filed their lawsuit and a motion for the attachment without Alex being notified because they were concerned she would try to hide her assets if she was made aware in advance.
The Sturkses said that Alex failed to file a federal income tax return for them for 2011 and failed to file a Massachusetts income tax return for 2012. In addition, she improperly calculated their mortgage interest deduction for 2010 and 2011, the lawsuit alleges.
The suit claims fraudulent misrepresentation because Alex had promoted herself as a certified public accountant, the lawsuit states.
In early December, the commissioner of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation issued a public warning through a press release stating that Alex was falsely calling herself a CPA when she was not one.
Alex acknowledged in a telephone conversation last month with the BDN that she had failed to remove an office sign and take down her website that referred to her as a CPA. She maintained, however, that she did not perform any work that required being a certified CPA. She said accountants can do tax returns.
The state said in its December press release that Alex had not had a license to practice as a certified public accountant in Maine since 2010.
Further, the release said that the Maine Board of Accountancy in September 2012 found that Alex had been holding herself out to the public as a CPA long after the expiration of both her individual and firm certified public accounting licenses.
The board indicated that Alex had failed to comply with a prior board order, issued in February 2012, resulting from her failure to properly file an income tax return, failure to follow-up with the IRS to resolve that matter, and failure to provide documents requested of her by the Maine attorney general’s office.
At a November 2013 meeting of the Maine Board of Accountancy, the panel decided to refer the matter to the Maine attorney general’s office for further enforcement action.
Consumers can check the license status of accountants and licensees in nearly 40 other professions by visiting maine.gov/pfr. The direct link to list of professions is maine.gov/pfr/professionallicensing/professions.htm.