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Two Central Kentucky men indicted in $14 million tax fraud scheme

Two Garrard County men failed to pay more than $14 million in payroll taxes, a federal grand jury has charged.

Clarence Michel Jr., 47, and Warren Griffin II, 49, failed to pay $14,671,184 in payroll taxes owed by various staffing companies that they operated between 2012 and 2015.

An indictment unsealed Thursday alleged that Michel and Griffin withheld payroll taxes from their employees’ payroll checks, but instead of paying that money over to the Internal Revenue Service, they instructed an employee to write the checks to them.

To hide the scheme, Michel and Griffin changed the names of their companies and started new companies under the names of various nominee owners. The companies did business in Garrard and Boyle counties as CJ Michel Industrial Services LLC, JR Payroll Solutions LLC and other names.

The indictment also alleges Michel and Griffin aided and assisted in the preparation of false personal income tax returns for the tax years 2012 through 2015.

For the conspiracy charge and charges of failing to pay payroll taxes, each man faces up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000. For the false statements on their personal taxes, each faces three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.