Jeffrey J. Blanford
Jeffrey J. Blanford

TOLEDO — Last Friday, Sept. 5, a Kalida man was arraigned in U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio, on three counts of tax evasion.

Jeffrey J. Blanford, 47, allegedly understated his income by more than $1.7 million over three years, according to an unsealed indictment filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio on Thursday, Sept. 4.

According to the indictment, Mr. Blanford submitted tax returns in 2013 indicating his taxable income was $106,972, when authorities allege it was $491, 613; in 2014, citing a taxable income of $148,236 when it was $700,150; and again in 2015, declaring a taxable income of $91, 614 when it was $899,560.

Appearing before Judge Jack Zouhary, Mr. Blanford entered pleas of not guilty on all counts. The defendant was released on $10,000 bond, with stipulations including the surrender of his passport; travel restrictions to Northern Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan as necessary for business purposes following approval by pretrial services; and submitting to and reporting for supervision as required by pretrial services.

Mr. Blanford has a dental office in Lima and owns the Hollander on Main, a restaurant on Lima’s Main Street.

The official press release issued by the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio, states, in part:

“If convicted, the defendant’s sentence will be determined by the Court after reviewing factors unique to this case, including the defendant’s prior criminal record, if any, the defendant’s role in the offense and the characteristics of the violation. In all cases the sentence will not exceed the statutory maximum and in most cases it will be less than the maximum.

The investigating agency in this case is the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gene Crawford and Michael J. Freeman.

An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

A pretrial conference in the matter is scheduled for Oct. 15 in U.S. District Court, Toledo.