West Virginia Business Owner Sentenced to Prison for Failing to Pay Employment Taxes
A Fayette County, West Virginia, business owner was sentenced today to 15 months in prison 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 Michael B. Stuart for the Southern District of West Virginia.
According to documents and information provided to the court, from 2008 through 2012, Steve Lopez, 68, owned and operated Ready Transport Services (RTS), a transportation business that mainly provided taxi services. From 2009 through 2012 he also owned RTS Ice Cream, Coffee and Candy Shop. Both businesses were located in Montgomery, West Virginia. Lopez was responsible for collecting and paying over to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) social security, Medicare, and income taxes withheld from his employees’ wages. He also was responsible for paying the employer’s share of his employees’ social security and Medicare taxes. Lopez admitted that he did not pay approximately $393,851 in employment taxes due to the IRS, including funds he withheld from his employees’ paychecks as well as money he owed as their employer.
In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Court Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. ordered Lopez to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $393,851 in restitution to the IRS.
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Stuart commended special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Tax Division Trial Attorneys Mara Strier and Alexander Effendi, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.