Former Jefferson Parish chief deputy Craig Taffaro charged with tax evasion

 NEW ORLEANS – A former chief deputy for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has been charged with tax evasion and filing a false tax return.

Taffaro, 70, of Harvey, is accused of trying to evade taxes by exaggerating business expenses.

The New Orleans Advocate reports that Taffaro retired in June while federal investigators were concluding their probe.

Taffaro’s attorney, Michael W. Magner, released the following statement in response to the federal indictment:

“Chief Craig Taffaro spent 52 years honorably serving his country and his community, beginning with the U.S. Army and continuing to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, where he served with distinction as Chief Deputy.  Chief Taffaro made the JPSO Patrol Division one of the finest law enforcement organizations in the Southeast, with a record of responding to every emergency call in five minutes or less.  Chief Taffaro’s leadership helped make Jefferson Parish one of the safest communities of its size in the nation.  The IRS has chosen to take a small civil tax dispute and turn it into a federal criminal tax prosecution for reasons known only to them.  He is innocent of these charges and we fully expect he will be vindicated at trial.”

It is unclear for which business Taffaro is accused of evading taxes, though The Advocate reports that it was a business started by Taffaro and Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

If convicted, Taffaro faces up to five years in prison for tax evasion and three years in prison for filing  a false return.