NILES, Ohio (WYTV) – The problems with tax money in the city of Niles are continuing.
This time, prosecutors said an independent contractor hired as an information technology consultant is charged with not paying his taxes for the past three years. But his attorney said he is being targeted for being a whistle blower.
Late last month, the city filed a misdemeanor charge against Anthony Ruberto for not filing a city tax return for the years 2011 through 2013, as well as not paying penalties for filing his taxes late for the three previous years. Ruberto, who is an independent contractor, gets paid roughly $7,000 a year.
“Prosecutions are a last resort. Everyone who is charged with an offense of this nature is given a chance to resolve this matter with the tax department before they ever come to court,” Niles City Prosecutor Terry Swauger said.
We reached Ruberto at his home on Wednesday, but he said he had no comment.
Attorney Harry DePietro, Ruberto’s attorney, said the tax department never attempted to resolve the case before filing charges and that in 2013, he had an extension from the federal government because the city of Niles didn’t provide him with the correct W-2 form, which the city just gave him a few days ago.
He believes that his client is being targeted because he is a whistle blower, discovering computer software issues and observed other things that were being done wrong in the city.
“He observed money that was supposed to be earmarked for one purpose being used for another purpose and then he brought these to the attention of officials in the city. And after that, he finds himself charged with income tax charges,” DePietro said.
However, city tax collector Lisa Smathers said Ruberto’s name came up after a computer scan, and 40 other people have faced similar tax charges this year.
Ruberto’s attorney is working with a tax preparer to pay what he owes. They are also considering legal action against the city. There is even discussion about taking some of the information he has discovered about the city to state and federal authorities.