WASHINGTON - Eliseo Roquiz of Erie, Penn., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin of the Western District of Pennsylvania to charges of filing a false document with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Justice Department and IRS announced today.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Dr. Roquiz, an anesthesiologist, used multiple tax fraud promoters to prevent the IRS from assessing and collecting his income taxes. In 1998, Dr. Roquiz established two sham trusts with the assistance of a California-based organization called National Trust Service and paid an affiliate of National Trust Service to prepare false individual and trust tax returns for him for the years 1998, 1999 and 2000. As part of the fraud, Dr. Roquiz had medical providers pay fees for his services to the sham trusts and then claimed false deductions on the trust returns to reduce the taxes on the income to zero. Dr. Roquiz also opened bank accounts in the name of the sham trusts and transferred title to his personal residence to one of the trusts.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in 2003, after the IRS began to audit his tax returns, Dr. Roquiz hired American Rights Litigators/Guiding Light of God Ministries (ARL/GLGM), an organization located in Florida that sold abusive tax schemes, to send obstructive and frivolous correspondence to the IRS in response to notices that the IRS sent to Dr. Roquiz. After ARL/GLGM was permanently enjoined in February 2004, Dr. Roquiz hired a third fraud promoter, Joseph Saladino, to file frivolous amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Returns (IRS Forms 1040X) for the years 2000 and 2001.
According to public documents and statements, Dr. Roquiz’s efforts to disrupt IRS collection activities culminated with the submission of three false Collection Information Statements for Wage Earners and Self-Employed Individuals (IRS Forms 433-A) between January and June 2005. All three Forms 433-A, which Dr. Roquiz signed under penalties of perjury, were materially false in that Dr. Roquiz failed to disclose that he had transferred his personal residence to his sham trust and that he was a party to a lawsuit. The second and third Forms 433-A, which Dr. Roquiz submitted in May and June of 2005, were also materially false in that Dr. Roquiz failed to disclose the existence of a bank account that he opened in the name on an LLC he had established in New Mexico.
As part of the plea agreement, the parties agreed that the tax loss associated with Dr. Roquiz’s conduct was $342,361.11 plus interest.
The charge against Dr. Roquiz carries a maximum sentence of up to three years in prison. Sentencing is set for Nov. 15, 2011.
More information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts can be found at www.justice.gov/tax.