Former Ravenna mayor faces mail and tax fraud charges

The U.S. Attorney’s Office filed a criminal bill of information against Paul Jones, former mayor of Ravenna, Monday.

The information charges Jones with five counts of mail fraud and three counts of filing false tax returns. Jones, 56, who was mayor of Ravenna from January 1976 to January 1982 and from January 1996 through December 2005, now resides in Bradenton, Fla.

A bill of information is only a charge and not evidence of guilt.

According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Ohio, Jones allegedly “deprived the citizens of the City of Ravenna of the intangible rights of Jones’ honest services.”

The information reports Jones, while mayor, made decisions that affected the funding of Neighborhood Development Services, which was a non-profit Ohio corporation that pursued the development of affordable housing, an improved downtown and a stronger local economy. NDS, in turn, hired PJ Jones Lawn Mowing Service, which was owned by Jones’ son. Jones allegedly operated and received income from this company. The tax fraud counts charge Jones with failing to report his income from the lawn services company on his federal tax returns.

– Bryan Wroten