The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

July 25, 2013

Didn’t evade taxes, business owners say

By Joe Pinchot
Herald Staff Writer

HERMITAGE — A Hermitage couple accused in a federal indictment of tax evasion and conspiracy entered not guilty pleas Wednesday and were released on bond.

Eric and Barbara Graven, 711 Audubon Drive, were indicted June 4 by a grand jury, the charges relating to their business, Custom Stone and Tile Inc., 2125 Broadway Ave., Hermitage.

They failed to report corporate gross receipts for the years 2005-08 in their business and personal income tax forms, according to the indictment.

Customer cash payments totaling $268,797 were not entered into company records, the indictment said.

The Gravens were arraigned Wednesday before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Maureen P. Kelly, Pittsburgh.

The Gravens asked for additional time in which to file pretrial motions – a request typically made multiple times in federal criminal cases – and Kelly extended the initial 10-day window until Sept. 10.

Prosecutors turned over the evidence they plan to use at trial: revenue agent reports and tax calculations; the search warrant and affidavit stemming from the Aug. 6, 2009, search at Custom Stone; and notes from interviews IRS agents conducted of Eric Graven in October 2009 and June 2010.

Barbara Graven was not interviewed.

Prosecutors said they expect a trial would last a week, and the Gravens estimated they would need another week to present their defense.

The Gravens requested that they be tried before a jury.

The indictment lists Barbara Graven as president and primary shareholder of Custom Stone, a wholesale and retail stone fabricating and installation firm, with Eric Graven vice president and shareholder responsible for day-to-day operations.