A Toms River accountant who ran her own regional business faces 28 federal counts tied to the alleged theft of $905,000 from clients throughout central and southern New Jersey.

Doreen Gentile, 59, has an initial court appearance today in the aftermath of her indictment in Camden, according to information from the office of New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman.

The indictment lists 14 counts of mail fraud, nine counts of forging endorsements on treasury checks, two each of aggravated identity theft and filing false income tax returns, and one of theft of government funds.

In addition to its client base for federal and state tax filings, Gentile's firm, Doreen A. Gentile & Associates LLC (DAG & Associates), manages property for clients in Salem County, authorities said.

According to investigators, Gentile would inform clients that they had no taxes or refunds due, or led them to believe that they owed, or were entitled to refunds, far less than the actual amounts.

Gentile submitted substitute returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for full refunds, signed without permission from clients, taking delivery of federal or New Jersey-issued checks at a Toms River post office box, and depositing the funds in her company's bank account, investigators said.

She is also accused of directing clients to send payments to the IRS, then apply to the agency for refunds to be sent to her. She forged client signatures on the checks and deposited the money into her account, authorities said.

Gentile is also charged with failing to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA) of a client's death in September 2005, embezzling the continued payments through the dead client's bank account and using the money for personal expenses.

None of the money showed up on her individual tax returns, investigators said.

Each of the 14 mail fraud counts carries a possible prison term of up to 20 years and fines as high as $250,000 on conviction. The forgery and theft charges are punishable by up to 10 years and $250,000 each. If found guilty of filing false returns, Gentile risks up to three years in priosn and fines as high as $100,000 for each. Aggravated identity theft carries sentences of up to two years in prison and maximum fines of $250,000.

Red Bank attorney Robert Weir is handling her defense.