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Published: Tuesday, 2/25/2014

Orthodontist must repay $300,000 in tax scheme


A local orthodontist who for years withheld his employees’ taxes but did not turn them over to the federal government was sentenced Monday to six months in a halfway house and ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution.

Stuart Duchon, 66, of Toledo told the court he took full responsibility for what he did and said he had secured a job with a dental practice in Cleveland to help him earn the money he must pay back.

Duchon pleaded guilty in August to 14 counts of failure to pay quarterly federal employment taxes for his staff at Duchon Orthodontics-Toledo Inc. and Stuart L. Duchon DDS MS Inc. from the third quarter of 2007 through the end of 2010.

While Duchon said his was a crime against the government and the general public, U.S. District Court Judge James Carr reprimanded him for betraying the people he counted on for honesty and loyalty — his employees.

“I consider that to be thoroughly reprehensible conduct,” Judge Carr said. “I want you to understand that that kind of treatment of people from whom you expect absolute fidelity, to turn your back on them, and put money in your pocket for whatever reasons is truly abhorrent.”

Duchon faced 18 to 24 months in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, said Gene Crawford, an assistant U.S. attorney. Still, Judge Carr said he sought to fashion a sentence that would let Duchon continue working so he could start to pay $301,736 in restitution. Judge Carr ordered Duchon to pay at least $1,000 a month.

The judge also placed Duchon on probation for five years, ordered him to pay a $1,400 assessment by May 15, and to perform community service a half-day a week or 20 hours per month.

Judge Carr said he hoped to send a message to other employers and professionals who might view this crime as “a simple and easy way” out of financial difficulties that they will be caught, prosecuted, and punished.

Defense attorney Neil McElroy told the court Duchon hoped to pay the restitution in five to seven years.

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