Youngstown-area attorney sentenced to prison for participating in scheme to steal more than $1.3 million from the IRS


Date: June 15, 2023


YOUNGSTOWN — Robert J. Rohrbaugh of Canfield, Ohio, was sentenced today to 52 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Bonita Pearson for engaging in a conspiracy to help two men illegally obtain more than $1.3 million from the IRS. Rohrbaugh was also ordered to serve 3 years of community control, pay a $400 special assessment, and pay restitution in the amount of $1,352,779 to the IRS.

"Today's sentence sends a clear message that if you steal from the public by cheating the IRS, you will be investigated and prosecuted," said U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko, "the United States Attorney's Office remains committed to ensuring the integrity of our revenue stream funded by good, honest, tax paying citizens."

"The defendants in this case went to great lengths to steal in excess of $1.3 million from the government," said Carilyn Peters, Acting Assistant Special Agent in Charge, IRS, Criminal Investigation. "The sentencings in this case reaffirm that if you participate in these types of tax refund fraud schemes, you will likely go to jail."

Rohrbaugh was convicted of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, aiding and abetting theft of government property, aiding and abetting false claims against the United States, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Rohrbaugh, a Youngstown-area attorney, assisted co-conspirators Brandon Mace and Terris Chanley Baker with obtaining a tax refund check for a fictitious business in the amount of $1,352,779.

Court documents state that in early 2015, Mace and Baker obtained a bogus tax refund check for a fictitious business by using fabricated tax forms and listing false taxes and expenditures that showed significant tax overpayments. After obtaining the refund check, Mace and Baker then contacted and worked with Rohrbaugh to deposit the check in accounts owned by the defendants.

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Rohrbaugh assisted Mace and Baker with the scheme even though he was aware that the two had obtained the refund from an illegitimate business based on false tax returns.

According to court documents, after cashing the refund check, Mace and Baker attempted to launder the money by purchasing several high-end and luxury vehicles. In addition, evidence showed that Mace and Baker used $150,000 of the refund check to pay Rohrbaugh for his services.

Co-defendant Brandon Mace pleaded guilty in September 2020 to his role in the scheme and was sentenced to 60 months in prison in February 2023. Co-defendant Terris Chanley Baker was convicted by a jury for his role in April 2022 and was sentenced to 98 months in prison in April 2023.

This case was investigated by IRS Criminal Investigation (CI). This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Megan R. Miller and Erica D. Barnhill.