Roni Lynn Deutch, the embattled "tax lady" lawyer from North Highlands, will likely be ordered to make significant changes in how she does business.
A Sacramento Superior Court judge indicated Monday she's going to order Deutch's law firm to alter some of its key business practices. Among other things, the nationally known attorney won't be able to accept fees from customers until her staff has reviewed their financial records and other documents.
A state lawsuit against Deutch alleges that the self-described fighter against the Internal Revenue Service defrauded scores of clients. The lawsuit says Deutch promised to erase or scale back clients' IRS debts, collected fat upfront fees and then did little or nothing on their behalf.
The lawsuit alleges that Deutch's telephone representatives pressure clients to part with thousands of dollars in upfront fees when they call her firm.
In a tentative ruling Monday, Judge Shelleyanne Chang said she's leaning toward issuing a court order prohibiting any money from changing hands until Deutch's staff has reviewed a prospective client's tax records.
Deutch's lawyers argued that the wholesale changes sought by the state would essentially put her out of business. But Chang wasn't persuaded.
"There is no substantial evidence to support the contention that the law firm will go out of business if it is forced to discontinue some of its practices," she said in her tentative ruling.
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