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Feds Charge Berkeley Man with Stealing Social Security Payments and Tax Evasion

Hugh Leslie Baras, 68, faces prison time and fines if he's convicted. He was arraigned in federal court Tuesday.

Federal prosecutors Tuesday accused a Berkeley man of stealing Social Security payments and cheating on his taxes, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's office for Northern California. 

The government lawyers charged Hugh Leslie Baras, 68, with stealing more than $80,000 in Social Security payments and failing to report and pay taxes on nearly $1 million in income between 2005 and 2009. 

He was arraigned in federal court Tuesday, the announcement said.

According to the press release, the maximum penalty for each count of tax evasion is five years in prison and a fine of $250,000.  The maximum penalty for each count of theft of government property is ten years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Baras faces one count of stealing government property and five counts of tax evasion.

The government accused him of filing false returns for 2005 through 2009 stating a taxable income of $193,385 with tax due of $29,705 for those years. In fact, the indictment says, he knowingly had taxable income of $1,176,815 for those years with $406,447 due in taxes, according to the news release.

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