DOJ Pursues Ohio Tax Preparers for Tax Fraud

tax fraud in OhioThe Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to pursue tax preparers engaged in filing fraudulent tax returns. Let’s look at some of these cases in our own backyard in Ohio.

Just as in all states, preparing or filing a false income tax return in Ohio is a tax crime. We often discuss dodgy tax scenarios around the globe and at home, including criminal tax charges against tax preparers. Tax preparers who cross the line into fraud put their careers and futures at risk at the same time they may ensnare an unsuspecting client who trusts them with their taxes.


Tax fraud involving tax returns can take the form of a false tax return that claims dubious deductions. It can be a network of interrelated businesses that churn and file false tax returns, collect claimed tax refunds, and turn over a small portion of that to an unsuspecting consumer.


Here are four recent cases involving Ohio tax preparers that caught the attention of the DOJ:

  • Preparing tax returns for clients in Ohio and Georgia, Tiffany Gravely pled guilty in March of this year to submitting 51 fraudulent income tax returns for 19 different clients between the years 2013 and 2019. As with many such crimes, Ms. Gravely filed returns that claimed false deductions and fake business expenses and charitable deductions. Facing up to three years in prison, plus fines, she is responsible for $257,609 in restitution to the government.
  • Euclid, Ohio resident Santon Barnes is facing 23 counts of filing false tax returns between the years 2014 through 2016. In addition to the standard fictitious deductions and fake expenses, Mr. Barnes played loose with income numbers.
  • Harry Grant, a 70-year-old resident of Mentor, Ohio faces four counts of fudging the numbers on a fraudulent tax return. The tax crimes of Mr. Grant are personal as he intentionally underreported his income, and that of his spouse, for the years 2014 through 2017.
  • A Garfield Heights’s man, Michael Haywood, age 29, faces 36 charges of preparing and submitting a false income tax return. Mr. Haywood prepared returns from his home office between the years 2014 and 2017 and worked the fraud through its usual modes of high deductions, low incomes, underreported income, fictitious losses and claiming a pumped-up and inaccurate tax refund.


There is little new in the tax scams of those who cook their own tax returns or the returns of others. Our law firm focuses on criminal tax defense. We understand the motivations of those who choose this kind of work. While the scams remain the same, each name and set of facts is unique. Whether you are involved in tax fraud involving tax returns or offshore tax investments, the more quickly you obtain experienced legal advice, the more likely it is that your exit strategy may not involve a lengthy prison term.


Skilled criminal tax defense attorneys help you in Ohio

With offices in Cleveland and Chicago, the legal team at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC offers help with tax controversy, criminal tax matters, and guidance with business bankruptcy. Contact us today or call 800-579-0997.


Understanding Tax Fraud