The owner of a Michigan human resource management firm was charged with filing false tax returns on behalf of his business clients.

Kleppe Houston was arraigned Tuesday on an indictment charging him with five counts of filing false tax returns. Houston is co-owner of Co-HR LLC, in Pontiac, Mich. He was charged with preparing and filing five employers’ quarterly federal tax returns on behalf of clients, falsely reporting that more than $393,381 in payroll taxes had been remitted.

Co-HR LLC provided payroll services to Health Management Systems of America, Binson’s Hearing Aid Services and Northwood Provider Network Services. According to prosecutors, Houston allegedly knew, but his clients did not, that the amount remitted with each return was substantially less than reported.

“Our tax system depends on the honest cooperation and integrity of every citizen and business owner,” said Jarod Koopman, acting special agent in charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, who was joined in the announcement by Barbara McQuade, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. “Employers that engage payroll service companies, and their employees whose wages have amounts withheld for payroll tax purposes, have every right to expect that those funds will be used for the payment of their taxes. The government has the same expectation.”

Attempts to contact Houston were unsuccessful.

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