YOUNGSTOWN — Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys continue to debate what evidence jurors can hear when attorney Robert J. Rohrbaugh II goes on trial for a second time today in US District Court.

He faces charges that he aided and abetted two men who were trying to steal $1,352,779 from the IRS.

Rohrbaugh, 49, of Canfield, whose office is on Belmont Avenue in Liberty, went on trial for the first time in April before Judge Benita Y. Pearson. But a jury could not decide Rohrbaugh’s guilt or innocence on four of the five charges he faced. The jury found him not guilty of filing false tax returns, the fifth count.

He is being retried on the remaining four counts: conspiracy to commit a federal crime, aiding and abetting theft of government property, aiding and abetting a false tax return and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

The government alleges that Rohrbaugh aided and abetted Brandon R. Mace, 45, of Berlin Center, and Terris C. Baker, 51, of Canton, to cash an IRS check for $1,352,779 that Mace obtained through a tax return. fraudulent federal tax while Mace was already in federal prison. for prior federal tax crimes.

The jury found Baker guilty of all four counts he faced at the April trial: conspiracy, aiding and abetting theft of government property, aiding and abetting a false tax return and conspiracy to commit money laundering.

Mace is expected to be a key witness in the Rohbaugh case and is cooperating with the government. He previously pleaded guilty to various charges in September 2020. He and Baker will be sentenced for their role at the company later.


According to a recent filing, the government alleges that while Mace was in federal prison in early 2015, he and others caused the filing of seven business tax returns totaling $8.5 million in refunds, one of which was filed for fictional company Speed ​​Werks LLC.

The IRS flagged six of the returns as suspect and did not issue refunds. All were presented with bogus forms that listed bogus ties and expenses and included “significant tax overpayments,” the filing says.

However, the IRS issued a refund check for $1,352,779 for Speed ​​Werks’ tax return on May 22, 2015 to an address in Arlington, Texas, for Chanlee Holdings of Canton.

That news prompted Mace to begin contacting Baker as early as June 2015 via the Federal Bureau of Prisons email system about creating entities to allow Mace and Baker to cash the check and other details.

In July 2015, Mace also began emailing Rohrbaugh, who had represented Mace in criminal defense matters in the past, “about filing documents with the state of Ohio to register Speed ​​Werks as an entity.” abroad,” the presentation says.

The government alleges that Rohrbaugh knew that Speed ​​Werks “was not a legitimate business and that the refund check was based on a false tax return” but “produced the record and accompanied Baker to KeyBank, where Rohrbaugh had his accounts.” banks, to open a checking account for Speed ​​Weeks and deny the refund check,” the filing reads.


It is also alleged that Rohrbaugh knew the income tax return was false or fraudulent but still helped Baker cash the check, which prosecutors believe is evidence of aiding and abetting a false tax return.

Mace and Baker then used $150,000 from the refund check to pay Rohrbaugh in three separate $50,000 checks. But when the IRS became suspicious of the refund and seized the remaining $671,648 in the KeyBank account in August 2015, Rohrbaugh spoke to the IRS agent working to recover the funds and told him that he had received about $80,000 of the money. Rohrbaugh wrote the IRS a check for $41,474.

Among the allegations in the case are that Rohrbaugh “knowingly and willingly joined the conspiracy” “with the intent to help advance or direct its goals.”

The money laundering charge accuses Rohrbaugh of knowingly participating or attempting to participate in a monetary transaction, helping to cash a check valued at more than $10,000, affecting interstate commerce.


Pearson ruled Friday that it will allow the introduction of an April 2011 IRS interview by Rohrbaugh about Mace during the trial. The defense, including attorney Sam Amendolara, challenged the evidence.

The judge will also allow testimony from a former prosecutor and other information about Rohrbaugh’s previous representation, Mace, in three unrelated cases between January 2008 and June 2011. They are a 2008 case in Stark County, a 2008 case in Geauga County and a 2010 case in Mahoning County.

The evidence is admissible and may show Rohrbaugh’s “knowledge” “with respect to the $1.3 million refund check at issue in the present case,” the judge ruled.

The judge also allowed “five

consensually recorded meetings between defendant Rohrbaugh (or his employee) and defendant Mace, which occurred between February 2018 and May 2018,” the ruling states.

A January 6 filing by Rohrbaugh’s attorneys states that Rohrbaugh is a “general physician” who handles civil and criminal matters. It states that “based on the evidence presented during the first trial,” Mace will be the government’s “primary witness.”

Mace “appears to have been the primary target of government prosecution,” “has a lengthy criminal record,” and “part of his past criminal conduct involves submitting false information to the government for gain,” the filing states.

Mace sought Rohrbaugh’s legal services “related to what attorney Rohrbaugh believed to be a genuine legal issue,” the filing says.

The filing asks the judge not to allow the jury to receive instructions at the close of testimony about the concept of “willful ignorance,” that is, whether a person may have acted in “willful ignorance” of a crime. The judge allowed such an instruction at the first trial, the filing says.

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