Ex-Louisiana sheriff’s deputy found guilty of tax evasion

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(WWL) A federal jury found Craig Taffaro, a former chief deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, guilty of tax evasion Monday (Jan. 29). Prosecutors say he provided false information about his income and expenses over six years from a business in which he was a partner with former Sheriff Newell Normand.

The income in question — more than $345,000 — came from CTNN Enterprises, an offshore oil industry brokering company. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has said Normand was not a target in the their investigation, and Normand has said he has paid all taxes associated with the business.

Taffaro faced a total of 12 charges in two separated indictments, handed down in July and September. He was convicted Monday on six counts of tax evasion, five counts of filing a false tax return and one count of failing to file a tax return. His offenses spanned tax years 2009 to 2014, prosecutors said.

“The Taffaro family and I are very disappointed in the jury’s verdict and we plan an appeal,” attorney Mike Magner said in a statement. “We are particularly disappointed that the jury apparently did not credit the fact that virtually every witness – Government and Defense — testified as to Craig’s exemplary character – his military service, 49 years in law enforcement, extensive charitable work, and his reputation for truthfulness and honesty.

It’s always tough fighting the federal government but we thought that we presented a compelling case of innocence. We will fight on.”

Taffaro is scheduled for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman on April 8. He faces a maximum sentence of 46 years in prison — five years for each count of tax evasion, three years for each count of filing a false return, and one year for failure to file a return.

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