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Former Comptroller For Diocese Pleads Guilty to Tax Crimes

He also embezzled money from the Diocese while failing to make the required tax payments.

The former comptroller of the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville, Ohio, pleaded guilty to failing to pay the IRS payroll taxes withheld from the paychecks of diocesan employees, filing false tax returns, and embezzling $299,500 in diocesan funds between 2008 and 2017.

According to court documents, from 2004 through 2016, David A. Franklin, 67, caused payroll taxes to be withheld from employee paychecks for the Diocese of Steubenville and the Office of Social Ministry, but did not pay the withheld funds over to the IRS. From 2013 through 2016, Franklin did the same thing to employee paychecks for the Mount Calvary Cemetery Association.

As a result, the Diocese had to pay and did pay the IRS $2.78 million in withheld payroll taxes and the employer portion of the employment taxes that Franklin had caused not to be paid over.

“While he was failing to truthfully account for and pay over payroll taxes, Franklin also embezzled $299,500 from the diocesan entities by preparing fraudulent checks to be issued to himself,” U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers said in a statement. “For four tax years, Franklin also filed false personal income tax returns, causing tax loss of $33,672.25.”

The plea agreement requires Franklin to pay $299,500 in restitution to the Diocese for the embezzlement. The court could also order restitution for the Diocese’s tax loss and penalties.

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