LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) – Two Garrard County, Ky. men have been charged with engaging in a massive tax fraud scheme, involving more than $14 million.
The unsealed indictment says that 47-year-old Clarence Michel Jr. and 49-year-old Warren Griffin II failed to pay $14,671,184 in payroll taxes, owed by various staffing companies that they operated between 2012 and 2016.
Specifically, the indictment alleges Michel and Griffin withheld payroll taxes from their employees’ paychecks; but instead of paying that money over to the Internal Revenue Service, they instructed an employee to write checks to them. The indictment further alleges that, to hide this scheme, Michel and Griffin changed the names of their companies and started new companies under the names of various nominee owners.
Similarly, the indictment charges Michel and Griffin with aiding and assisting in the preparation of false personal tax returns, for tax years 2012 through 2015.
Michel is scheduled to appear Friday. Griffin previously appeared in the Southern District of Illinois, where he was arrested. His appearance in Kentucky has not yet been set. For the conspiracy charge and the charges of failing to pay over payroll taxes, each defendant faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. For the false statements on their personal taxes, each faces 3 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.