Indictment For South Florida Contractor Accused Of Tax Fraud
After several months of extensive investigation, officials from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation unit and US Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General unveiled an indictment in the case of a South Florida contractor who allegedly violated federal tax laws. According to the press release issued by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, the man effected a scheme to defraud the IRS through misreporting on federal employment taxes. The plan involved multiple shell companies, cash payments to workers, and related misconduct, which could lead to severe penalties in the event of a conviction.
Still, it is always important to point out that an indictment is not an indication of guilt. There are numerous defenses and strategies for obtaining a favorable outcome, and a Florida criminal attorney can help if you are in a similar situation. Some background information on tax fraud may also be helpful.
Elements of a Tax Fraud Case
There are various ways a person could engage in acts of tax fraud, typically for the purpose of reducing tax liability OR avoid paying what is owed. The crime is commonly called tax evasion, and it requires the government to prove three essential elements:
- An attempt to evade or defeat tax treatment or paying taxes;
- The fact that taxes are still due and owing; and
- The individual willfully engaged in acts to accomplish the scheme.
Note that being a criminal offense like any other, officials must prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt.
Application of Tax Evasion Laws to the South Florida Contractor’s Case
To better understand how these elements operate, you can review how they play a role in the current case. Key details of the defendant’s scheme include:
- He owned one construction company, while being employed at two other construction companies. All three companies employed other construction workers.
- Through a shell company, the defendant paid all employees in cash for their work. This same phony company fraudulently posed as a subcontractor for the three legitimate construction companies.
- The shell company invoiced the three companies for services performed, and the three companies wrote checks for these payments.
- The defendant cashed the checks at currency exchanges throughout Miami-Dade County, keeping the cash and paying it to workers at all three construction companies.
As such, this fraudulent plan minimized the payment of federal employment taxes, since construction workers were paid under the table. If the allegations are proved, the defendant faces up to five years’ incarceration.
Count on a South Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer for Assistance
While many construction companies rely on their attorneys for assistance with contracts, bid disputes, liens, and bond claims, this story demonstrates that legal help is critical for legal compliance as well. False and misleading statements can lead to serious fraud charges, and harsh punishment for a conviction. If you have concerns about an investigation or potential indictment, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A., today to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.