Two Louisiana Residents Charged With Conspiring to Harbor Aliens and Tax Crimes
A federal grand jury sitting in New Orleans, Louisiana, returned an indictment against two Louisiana residents, charging each with one count of conspiracy to harbor an alien, one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, 48 counts of failure to withhold and pay over employment tax, and 12 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser of the Eastern District of Louisiana.
As alleged in the indictment, Imad “Eddie” Hamdan and Ziad “Z” Mousa owned and operated over 30 locations of Brothers Food Mart. Hamdan and Mousa are alleged to have hired undocumented workers to work in their stores and paid them in cash. To further conceal these undocumented workers, Hamdan and Mousa allegedly filed false employment tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that did not report the cash wages paid to the undocumented workers.
In addition, the indictment charges that Hamdan and Mousa paid the salaries of the managers of the Brothers Food Mart stores partially in cash. Allegedly, employment taxes were also not withheld or reported in connection with these cash wages. Finally, according to the indictment, Hamdan and Mousa issued and filed false Forms W-2 that underreported their wages. The indictment further alleges that Hamdan and Mousa aided in the filing of fraudulent tax returns for the managers of Brothers Food Mart stores.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If convicted, Hamdan and Mousa each face a statutory maximum sentence of ten years in prison for the conspiracy to harbor aliens count, five years for the conspiracy to defraud the United States count, five years for each count of willful failure to withhold and pay over employment tax, and three years for each count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a fraudulent tax return. They also face substantial monetary penalties, supervised release, and restitution.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Strasser commended Assistant United States Attorney Greg Kennedy and Trial Attorney Lauren Castaldi of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting this case. The case was investigated by special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations.