News and Press Releases

Extradited Defendant Pleads Guilty to Tax Fraud Charges in Employee Leasing Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 18, 2012

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), Miami Field Office, and U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, Kansas City Office, announced that Lucia Kanis, 38, pled guilty this afternoon before U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra to one count of conspiring to impede and obstruct the Internal Revenue Service in the collection of payroll taxes as a part of an alien employee leasing scheme. Judge Marra sentenced Kanis to 27 months in jail, and ordered that she pay restitution in the amount of $1,973,266.69.

Kanis, who previously lived in Coral Springs, Florida, fled the United States to avoid prosecution. She was believed to be living in Slovakia until her arrest on May 16, 2011, by Italian authorities in Bologna, Italy. She was recently extradited to the United States to face the federal charges filed against her in 2005 for her role in a nationwide employee leasing conspiracy.

The indictment alleges that Kanis and her co-defendants conspired to provide unauthorized workers, mostly East Europeans who had entered the United States on tourist visas, to American companies with whom the defendants had contracted to provide legally authorized foreign workers. The indictment alleges that more than 550 illegal aliens were brought into the United States by the defendants. According to the indictment, the alien workers obtained tourist visas to enter the United States and were employed illegally in the Midwest and Southeastern United States on farms, in dairies and in factories. The defendants allegedly contracted with American employers to provide workers, for whom the defendants were to pay payroll taxes and workers’ compensation deductions. The indictment alleges that the defendants did not pay the taxes or workers’ compensation deductions. More specifically, during today’s plea hearing, Kanis admitted that from 2000 to 2002, she participated in a scheme through which she failed to pay more than $1,973,266.69 in payroll taxes to the U.S. Treasury.

The investigation was led by the Kansas City Office of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the United States Department of Labor- Office of the Inspector General, Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; and the Miami, Florida Field Office of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. This case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey H. Kay.

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A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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