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News Release

April 23, 2001 -  Columbus, Ohio  - Ohio Businessman Pleads in Criminal Tax Case

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A former New Philadelphia mobile home dealer pleaded not guilty Thursday (April 19) in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court to tax and theft charges, including failing to remit sales taxes between 1995 and 1999.

Ohio Department of Taxation (ODT) officials believe it is the largest criminal sales tax case in Ohio history.

The charges against Steven D. Schwartz, formerly owner of Schwartz, Inc., were returned in a secret indictment by a Tuscarawas County Grand Jury on March 15. Schwartz is specifically charged with five counts of failing to remit sales tax, five counts of filing false or fraudulent tax returns with intent to defraud, six counts of aggravated theft, 12 counts of grand theft and two counts of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity. All charges relate to taxes. The amount of sales tax that Schwartz allegedly collected but did not remit remains confidential tax information until it becomes a matter of public record through the court proceedings.

If convicted of all counts, Schwartz could be fined a minimum of $80,000 and sentenced to a minimum of 50 years in prison.

"This is a complex case that we’ve investigated for more than two years," Ohio Tax Commissioner Thomas Zaino said of the charges against Schwartz. "We hope this will alert other Ohio businesses of how serious a responsibility it is to remit the sales taxes they collect---and how much trouble can ensue if they don’t."

The case was investigated by the ODT Criminal Enforcement Division and auditors from the ODT Zanesville District Office. Zaino praised Tuscarawas County Prosecuting Attorney Amanda Spies Bornhorst and New Philadelphia Police for their assistance in the case.

The matter is expected to go to trial in about nine months. Schwartz resides in Key West, Fla., where he was free to return while the case is pending.


(For more information contact Gary Gudmundson, Communications Director at 614-644-6903.)