Puerto Rico CPA Indicted and Arrested on Wire Fraud Charges in Relation to Act 20 and Act 22 Scheme
On Oct. 14, 2020, a federal grand jury in the District of Puerto Rico returned an indictment charging Gabriel F. Hernández, with ten counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1343, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney, District of Puerto Rico, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division, and Tyler R. Hatcher, Special Agent-in-Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office. The indictment was unsealed this week after the arrest of the defendant by federal law enforcement officers from IRS-CI.
According to allegations in the indictment, Hernández, a CPA who served as the tax manager and partner-in-charge of the tax division of a large public accounting, tax, consulting, and business advisory firm, devised a scheme to defraud the IRS. The scheme, as alleged, related in part to two tax incentive acts: Act 20, also known as the Export Services Act, which offers tax incentives for Puerto Rican companies to export services to other jurisdictions, and Act 22, also known as the Individual Investors Act, which offered tax incentives to individuals who relocate to Puerto Rico. Under the scheme, as alleged, Hernández unjustly enriched himself and others by receiving fees in exchange for preparing and filing and causing to be prepared and filed a false federal income tax return with the IRS and fraudulent applications and other records related to the acts. The indictment further alleges that, as part of the scheme Hernández and others evaded the assessment and payment of taxes by engaging in financial transactions devoid of any economic substance (sham transactions). The transactions allegedly were intended to create the illusion that Hernandez’s clients earned income from services performed within Puerto Rico, rather than within the mainland United States.
If found guilty, the defendant faces a maximum statutory sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for charges relating to wire fraud.
An indictment is a charging document containing allegations. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow and PDAAG Zuckerman commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI’s Miami Field Office. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth A. Erbe and Department of Justice Assistant Chief Gregory E. Tortella and Special Attorney Francesca L. Bartolomey.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.