Miami Tire Importers Indicted for Excise Tax Conspiracy and Tax Evasion
A federal grand jury returned an indictment yesterday charging the owners of a Miami, Florida, tire import business with conspiracy to defraud the government and tax evasion, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan for the Southern District of Florida.
According to the indictment, Marco Parra and Eira Luces-Parra, a married couple, owned and operated Road Tire Plus Corp (Road Tire), a tire importer located in Miami, Florida. From 2013 through 2016, the Parras allegedly conspired with others in the tire industry to evade paying federal excise taxes on tires.
Truck tires marked for highway use are subject to excise taxes. A tire importer is liable for the excise tax when the truck tires are sold. Tire importers typically pass on the cost of the excise tax to the tire retailers, their customers, and collect the excise taxes from them. But if the tires are later exported rather than sold domestically, the law provides for a credit for the excise taxes paid.
From 2013 through 2016, the Parras sold taxable truck tires to various tire retailers in South Florida. According to the indictment, the Parras collected from some customers the excise taxes that were due, but did not remit those taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and did not file tax returns reporting the tire sales as they were obligated to do.
For other customers, the Parras allegedly never collected the federal excise taxes due on the tire sales. Instead, the Parras allegedly obtained from these coconspirators false bills of lading claiming that the tires were exported, so that the Parras could obtain an excise tax credit even though they knew the tires were not exported.
If convicted, the Parras face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for each count. They also face a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Mara Strier and Assistant Chief Greg Tortella of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Larsen, who are prosecuting the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the Division’s website.