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3 Northeast Ohioans indicted for aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return

The three cases are not related, according to an official.

CLEVELAND — Editor's note: The video in the player above is from a previously published story.

On Monday, Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan announced that three Northeast Ohioans have been indicted by a grand jury on charges of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return. 

Brennan says that the three cases are not related. 

“Particularly during this time of year, we want the public to know that violations of our nation’s tax laws will be investigated and, when appropriate, prosecuted,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan.  

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Santon Barnes, 49, of Euclid is charged with 23 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false and fraudulent tax return for the years of 2014-2016. Barnes allegedly reported fictitious or inflated income, withholdings, dependents. 

70-year-old Harry Gant of Mentor charged with four counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of a false and fraudulent tax return. According to officials, Gant reportedly intentionally underreported income from his business for the years of 2014-2017. 

Michael Haywood, 29, of Garfield Heights was also indicted by a grand jury on 36 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of a false and fraudulent tax return. The indictment states that Haywood operated a tax preparation business out of his home for clients between the years of 2014-2017. Officials believe that the man intentionally reported inflated deductions, fictitious credits, losses, schedules, and other incorrect filing statuses that were deemed fraudulent and inaccurate.

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Each defendant will next have the opportunity to stand trial for the charges. 

“Whether it’s return preparers filing false tax returns for their clients or an individual intentionally underreporting his income, IRS CI remains committed to using our financial expertise to vigorously investigate criminal tax allegations,” said Bryant Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office.            

Editor's note: The video in the player below is from a previously published story.