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Press Release

Massachusetts Commercial Fisherman Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Defendant Evaded Taxes on $1.3 Million in Income Between 2013 and 2021

A Massachusetts man pleaded guilty today to evading taxes on income he earned as a commercial fisherman.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Rodolfo Membreno, of Fall River, worked as a commercial fisherman and deckhand operating primarily out of the Port of New Bedford. Membreno did not report over $1.3 million in income between 2013 and 2021. For 2013 to 2019, and again for 2021, Membreno did not file federal income tax returns or pay taxes. In 2020, he filed a false tax return that overstated business expenses. For 2012, Membreno filed a tax return but did not pay the tax that was due. To conceal his income, Membreno regularly cashed his paychecks from the fishing companies and used the cash to pay for personal expenses. In total, he caused a tax loss to the IRS of approximately $293,118.

Membreno is scheduled to be sentenced on May 15 and faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison. The defendant also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy for the District of Massachusetts made the announcement.

IRS Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Ezra Spiro and Acting Chief John Kane of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor Wild for the District of Massachusetts are prosecuting the case.

Updated February 7, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-156