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Press Release

Owners of New York Flower Business Plead Guilty to Obstructing the IRS

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Directed Customers to Pay in Cash and Diverted More than $1 Million in Gross Receipts

The co-owners of a Great Neck, New York flower business, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York to corruptly endeavoring to obstruct and impede the internal revenue laws, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

According to documents filed with the court, Adrian Benitez, 39, and Jose Ramirez, 44, co-owned and operated Metro Floral Decorators. Between 2007 and 2012, they obstructed the internal revenue laws by diverting more than $1 million in sales to their personal bank accounts instead of depositing the funds into the business bank account. They directed customers to pay in cash, checks payable to cash or checks payable to them personally. Benitez and Ramirez concealed these funds from their return preparer and filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) false individual income tax returns that did not report the money they diverted. They also did not report the full gross receipts on the firm’s corporate tax returns. Benitez admitted to causing a tax loss of approximately $227,729 and Ramirez admitted to causing a tax loss of approximately $235,805.

A sentencing date has not been scheduled before U.S. District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano. Benitez and Ramirez each face a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison, a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorneys Jeffrey Bender and Brittney Campbell of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

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

Updated June 23, 2017

Topic
Tax
Component
Press Release Number: 17.698