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Press Release

South Florida Business Owner Sentenced to 24 Months in Prison for Not Paying $10.8 Million in Employment Tax Withholdings

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs
Instead of Paying the IRS, Defendant Spent the Funds on Cars, Jewelry, and Cosmetic Surgery

A Miami, Florida, business owner was sentenced to 24 months in prison today for failing to pay over employment taxes, 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 court documents and statements made in court, between 2002 and 2017, Ricardo Betancourt owned and operated multiple parcel delivery businesses in the South Florida area.  Betancourt’s businesses earned gross revenues of more than $100 million.

Through his businesses, Betancourt employed hundreds of employees and was responsible for collecting and paying over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) the taxes withheld from employees’ paychecks. Between 2009 and 2016, Betancourt withheld over $10.8 million in payroll taxes from his employees but instead of paying those funds to the IRS, Betancourt transferred the money to an investment company he used to fund a lavish lifestyle and other business ventures. Betancourt spent over $190,000 on motorcycles, including several Harley-Davidson bikes, purchased classic and sports cars, bought expensive jewelry, and paid for cosmetic surgery.

In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke ordered Betancourt to serve three years of supervised release and to pay approximately $9,033,318 in restitution to the United States.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan thanked special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Trial Attorney Michael Boteler of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.

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

Updated March 11, 2020

Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 20-304