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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ohio Insurance Salesman Indicted for Tax Evasion Spanning More than 10 Years

A Parma, Ohio, resident was indicted by a grand jury sitting in Cleveland in the Northern District of Ohio for one count of tax evasion of payment for conduct spanning from 2001 through 2015, and five counts of failure to file federal income tax returns for tax years 2008 through 2012, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division. 

According to the allegations in the indictment, John Christopher Raschella worked as an insurance salesman, and also had a degree in accounting and had previously worked as a tax return preparer.  From 1989 through 2012, Raschella earned substantial income and failed to file timely federal income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to report his insurance commissions as an independent contractor and other income that he earned in those years.  Even after Raschella received notices from the IRS indicating that he owed taxes, he failed to pay the amounts due.  From 1989 through 1991, 1993 through 1999, and 2001 through 2010, Raschella also delinquently filed tax returns on which he reported that he owed income taxes.  However, even in the 1992, 2000, 2011 and 2012 tax years, Raschella failed to pay all of the taxes due and owing, and the delinquent tax returns for some of those years contained false statements about Raschella’s home address, marital status, gross receipts and business expenses. 

The indictment further alleges that beginning in or around 2001, the IRS attempted to collect Raschella’s unpaid taxes by levying his bank accounts and insurance commissions.  In response to these actions, Raschella took steps to obstruct the IRS’ collection efforts.  He attempted to assign his insurance commissions to third parties, including nominee corporations that he established in Nevada and Utah.  He also directed that his insurance commissions be deposited into the bank account of his girlfriend, and leased and purchased three luxury vehicles that he registered in nominee names.  In or around 2010, Raschella caused an individual in the state of Texas to submit a fraudulent IRS Form for Release of Levy/Release of Property from Levy, to the company for which Raschella sold insurance in an effort to reduce the amount of money that the insurance company paid over to the IRS pursuant to a levy.  

If convicted, Raschella faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the tax evasion count, and a statutory maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine for each count of failure to file tax returns. 

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated this case, and Trial Attorneys Melissa S. Siskind and Jeffrey A. McLellan of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting this case.  Ciraolo also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Northern District of Ohio for providing substantial assistance.

An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.  

Press Release Number: 
Updated July 9, 2015