On Monday, January 8, 2024, the Mahoning County Bar Association filed a complaint against attorney Robert J. Rohrbaugh II before the Board of Professional Conduct of the Supreme Court of Ohio after Rohrbaugh’s indictment for federal tax fraud charges for his role in a conspiracy to file false tax returns.
The case is entitled “Mahoning County Bar Association v. Robert J. Rohrbaugh II,” with case no. 2024-002.
The charges cited Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct 1.13, 1.16, 4.1, 8.4(b), and 8.4(c) which state:
Respondent failed to withdraw from the representation of a client when the representation would result in a violation of the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct.
Respondent in the course of representing his client knowingly made false statements of material fact to a third person or failed to disclose a material fact when disclosure was necessary to avoid assisting an illegal or fraudulent act by a client.
Respondent committed an illegal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty or trustworthiness.
Respondent engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation of the Bar of Ohio.
The Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.
According to a complaint filed, Rohrbaugh was indicted in July 2020 along with two others for conspiracy, theft of government property, false claims, and money laundering. Prosecutors said Rohrbaugh helped create fake businesses and trusts from 2015 to file fraudulent tax returns that claimed large false tax withholdings. This resulted in the IRS issuing over $1.3 million in refunds that the defendants deposited and kept for themselves. A first trial in April 2022 ended in a partial mistrial, but in a second trial, a federal jury found Rohrbaugh guilty on all four counts.
On June 16, 2023, Judge Benita Pearson of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio sentenced Rohrbaugh to 52 months in prison. Rohrbaugh was also ordered to pay $569,938 in restitution to the IRS, to be paid at 25% of any income earned while incarcerated.
As an attorney, Rohrbaugh’s actions violated several rules of professional conduct according to the disciplinary complaint, including failure to avoid assisting in illegal client acts. In its complaint, the Mahoning County Bar Association alleges that Rohrbaugh committed misconduct and should be disciplined accordingly.
The Complaint states:
“WHEREFORE, pursuant to Rule V of the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio, and the Ohio Rules of Professional Conduct, Relator alleges that Respondent is chargeable with misconduct: therefore, Relator requests that Respondent be disciplined pursuant to Rule V of the Rules for the Government of the Bar of Ohio.”
According to avvo.com, Mr. Rohrbaugh II is a criminal defense attorney in Youngstown, Ohio. He attended the Cleveland State University, graduating in 1999. He acquired his law license in Ohio in the same year.
A copy of the original filing can be found here.