Oregon Check Teller, Construction Operators Charged With Payroll Tax Evasion | USAO-OR

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PORTLAND, Oregon — A federal grand jury in Portland today released a five-count indictment charging six people for their roles in a multi-year program to evade payroll taxes and income taxes construction workers.

David A. Katz, 45, of Tualatin, Ore., The operator of Check Cash Pacific, Inc., a check cashing business with locations in the Portland and Vancouver, Wash. Area, is accused of having conspired with five individuals affiliated with Oregon-based construction companies to defraud the United States by facilitating cash wage payments to construction workers in order to hinder and impede the IRS’s ability to calculate, assess and collect taxes on wages and income due on wages in cash.

In addition, Katz is charged with four counts of filing false currency transaction reports with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the US Treasury Department.

Other people accused of conspiracy to defraud the United States include Martin S. Elizondo, 46, also from Tualatin; Melesio Gomez-Rivera, 47, from Aloha, Oregon; Jorge Peraza, 49, and Natallie N. Graham, 46, both of Beaverton, Oregon; and Jose L. Altamirano, Sr., 60, of Bend, Oregon.

According to the indictment, since at least January 2014 and until December 2017, Elizondo, Gomez-Rivera and Peraza have managed to evade the tax obligations of their respective construction companies and have helped other construction companies to do the same. To carry out the scheme, they cashed or had others cash millions of dollars in paychecks at various locations in Katz’s check-cashing business, used the money to pay construction workers below the table and have filed false income tax and payroll tax returns.

Altamirano allegedly used co-conspirators to cash paychecks at Katz’s company in order to pay employees at his moonlighting construction company. Graham is said to have worked in the office of an outsourcing company used to facilitate and organize undeclared cash payments to workers.

In total, Katz and his co-conspirators cashed an estimated $ 192 million in paychecks, resulting in a combined loss of employment and personal income tax of $ 68 million.

Katz, Elizondo, Gomez-Rivera, Peraza and Graham will be tried on these charges in Portland federal court on December 15, 2021.

The conspiracy to defraud the United States carries a sentence of up to five years in federal prison, a fine of $ 250,000 and a three-year supervised release. Filing false reports on currency transactions carries a penalty of up to 10 years in federal prison, a fine of $ 250,000 and a three-year supervised release.

Acting US attorney Scott Erik Asphaug of the Oregon District made the announcement.

This matter was investigated by the IRS-Criminal Investigation. Deputy US prosecutors Seth D. Uram and Gavin W. Bruce are continuing the case.

An indictment is only a felony charge, and the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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