CIRCLEVILLE— Local businessman John A. Rankin has been sentenced to five years in prison and ordered to pay $7.1 million in restitution for tax crimes.

Rankin, 55, of Circleville, was sentenced in U.S. District Court Tuesday after being found guilty on 17 tax related charges following a trial in September of 2017.

“Rankin effectively robbed both the United States and his employees, and not only did he perpetrate this decade-long tax-fraud scheme, but he also introduced fake records at trial,” U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman said. “The jury rightfully convicted him for his illegal conduct, and his sentence today reflects his continued disregard for the law.”

According to court records, Rankin owned several Circleville businesses and between June 2008 and April 2011, failed to pay federal income and FICA taxes, and falsified individual tax returns with the IRS from 2005 to 2009, claiming a negative gross income of $1.7 million when it was more than $8.9 million. In 2010 he filed an income of $27,000 when in fact his gross income was nearly $1.6 million.

“The sentencing of Rankin is an important victory for America's taxpayers who play by the rules and have no tolerance for those who make up their own rules,” Ryan L. Korner, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office said. “This investigation serves to remind us that there is no such thing as free money and there are no awards or incentives for creativity when it comes to crime.”

Rankin was originally set to be sentenced several times and filed motions to delay sentencing following his pre-sentence investigation by the court.

Glassman recommended a harsher prison sentence of 63 to 78 months imprisonment in a sentencing memorandum but the restitution amount for the sentence was in the neighborhood of the $7.1 million he was sentenced to.

“Mr. Rankin’s history and characteristics speak for themselves,” Glassman wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court. “He grew up in a stable, well-to-do family. He had every opportunity to succeed in life. Yet instead of using his gifts and intellect for the public good, he put them to use for private greed. He repeatedly engaged in fraud to enrich himself at other’s expense, no matter the consequences.”

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