Miami Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Payroll Tax Crime
A Miami business owner pleaded guilty today to willfully failing to pay over employment taxes to the IRS. The proceeding was held before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lauren Louis. A sentencing date will be set by U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Ari Weingrad owned and operated two car rental companies, Rent Max Miami, Inc. and Rent Max North, Inc., both of which had locations throughout Florida. As the sole owner and CEO of Rent Max Miami, and as the co-owner and president of Rent Max North, Weingrad knew he was responsible for collecting, accounting for and paying over payroll taxes withheld from his employees’ wages to the IRS. Between 2011 and 2016, however, Weingrad withheld from his employees but did not pay over more than $850,000 in employment taxes owed to the IRS. Instead, he caused Rent Max Miami to spend corporate funds to pay discretionary expenses, including a $50,000 cashier’s check to himself, a $45,000 in cashier’s checks payable to his wife, and expenses related to a 55-foot yacht.
Weingrad faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for willful failure to pay over employment taxes. He also faces, as well as 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 Tax Division, and U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida, and Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line of IRS-Criminal Investigation Miami Field Office made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Patrick Elwell of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ana Maria Martinez of the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case.