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Press Release

Cary Businessman Pleads Guilty to Evading More than $1 Million in Taxes

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of North Carolina

NEW BERN, N.C. – Arturo Barcenas Gonzalez (Barcenas) pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion before United States Magistrate Judge Robert B. Jones, Jr. At sentencing, Barcenas faces a statutory maximum of 60 months’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Barcenas will also be required to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service in an amount to be determined.

“The vast majority of American taxpayers pay their fair share in taxes, supporting our nation’s infrastructure, innovation, and military. Meanwhile, Barcenas failed to file any federal tax return for years while he padded his personal accounts with money from his businesses,” said U.S. Attorney Michael Easley. “Businessmen making millions can’t use tax scams to dodge paying their share and leave law-abiding citizens to shoulder the burden. Hardworking Americans won’t stand for that, and neither will the IRS.”

“Defrauding the government using schemes to conceal income and evade taxes is unlawful,” said Donald “Trey” Eakins, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Charlotte Field Office. “Today’s plea should serve as a reminder that those who evade their federal income tax responsibilities will be prosecuted and held accountable.”

According to court documents and other information presented in court, Barcenas owns and operates various businesses at an office location in Cary, including Barcenas Insurance Agency, LLC (BIA) and Barcenas Financial Services, LLC (BFS). BIA is a retail insurance company that offers and sells traditional insurance policies, including automotive coverage.  The investigation revealed that BIA operated a high-volume, cash-intensive business that, among other things, registered and titled vehicles on behalf of undocumented aliens through the use of assumed business name certificates filed with the register of deeds. BFS is a tax return preparation business that prepares federal and state income tax returns for customers.

In July 2018, Barcenas filed a false 2017 federal income tax return (Form 1040) that concealed over $300,000 in business receipts. Thereafter, Barcenas simply stopped filing federal tax returns altogether. Despite his non-filing, Barcenas continued to generate substantial business income—investigators identified business receipts in excess of $1 million per year between 2018 and 2022. In order to avoid IRS assessment and/or collection activity, Barcenas engaged in various acts of evasion, including titling assets in the names of others, depositing business proceeds into personal accounts, and making extensive use of cash. 

In May 2023, the IRS conducted a search warrant at Barcenas’s offices in Cary, during which agents recovered, among other things, various income-establishing business records that Barcenas previously claimed that he did not possess. The estimated tax losses attributable to the offense are over $1 million for calendars years 2018 through 2022.

Michael Easley, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, made the announcement after the arraignment.  IRS-Criminal Investigation, based in Raleigh, investigated the case and Assistant United States Attorney Adam F. Hulbig prosecuted the case for the government.

Related court documents and information can be found on the website of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina or on PACER by searching for Case No. 5:23-CR-376-FL.

Updated February 21, 2024