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Press Release

Former Ohio Businessman Associated With Demolition Companies Sentenced to Prison for Tax Crimes

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A former Cincinnati, Ohio resident was sentenced today to 24 months in prison for tax and structuring crimes, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to documents and information provided to the court, Hugo Santamaria pleaded guilty in August 2017 to structuring cash transactions to avoid currency transactions reports and conspiring to defraud the United States. Beginning in 2006, Santamaria owned and operated multiple demolition companies and conspired with his business partner in those companies to conceal income from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and evade their personal income taxes.  In order to further his scheme, Santamaria engaged in acts of evasion such as opening bank accounts for his co-conspirator to hide income and serving as a nominee for his co-conspirator’s businesses.  Santamaria also wrote, signed, and cashed numerous checks and made cash withdrawals in amounts less than $10,000 on consecutive days to evade bank-reporting requirements.    

Santamaria and his co-conspirator also paid workers in cash and failed to withhold and pay over any payroll taxes.  Santamaria admitted to paying himself a weekly salary from company bank accounts, and paying personal expenses including food, lodging, clothing, gym memberships, and tuition for private school out of the business bank accounts, all in an effort to avoid paying personal income taxes.  Santamaria has not filed a personal tax return since 2007.

In addition to the term of imprisonment imposed, U.S. District Judge Timothy Black ordered Santamaria to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $26,213 in restitution to the IRS.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Richard M. Rolwing of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case. 

Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.

Updated August 17, 2018

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 18-1067