Worcester Man Pleads Guilty to Wire Fraud and Tax Charges
BOSTON – A Worcester man pleaded guilty today to federal tax and fraud charges arising from his role overseeing various Worcester-based employment agencies.
Tam Vuong, 46, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of wire fraud and four counts of failing to pay taxes. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Dec. 1, 2021. Vuong was indicted in August 2019.
Vuong oversaw Prime Labor LLC and UT Services, Inc., which were employment agencies based in Worcester. Each agency paid a few employees by check but paid most employees in cash. Each agency failed to report or pay taxes on the wages paid in cash, which Vuong fraudulently concealed in connection with tax filings and insurance audits. Vuong concealed millions of dollars in cash wages that were paid to Prime Labor workers and additional cash wages paid by UT Services. Between 2012 and 2017, more than $30 million in Prime Labor client company checks were cashed at a check-cashing business in Worcester; Prime Labor paid millions of these dollars in cash wages and then failed to report these wages to the IRS or to its insurer.
In addition, while in his role overseeing and controlling UT Services, Vuong falsely told UT Services’ insurance carrier that the company had only one employee and an annual payroll of only $50,000, when, in actuality, UT Services had dozens of employees and a significantly higher payroll. UT Services disseminated forged certificates of insurance to several clients and failed to inform clients when its workers’ compensation policy was cancelled.
Vuong shifted operations from Prime Labor to UT Services after federal search warrants were executed in November 2017. Vuong took steps to hide his role with both Prime Labor and UT Services.
In January 2021, Julio Lopez of Los Angeles, Calif., a former employee of Prime Labor and UT Services, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax charges and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 29, 2021. In February 2021, Linda Le of Shrewsbury, a former employee of UT Services, pleaded guilty to perjury for giving false testimony before a federal grand jury and was sentenced in May 2021 to two years of probation.
The charges of wire fraud each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of failing to pay taxes each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $10,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell; Joseph R. Bonavolonta, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Ramsey E. Covington, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation; and Anthony DiPaolo, Chief of Investigations of the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Bill Abely, Chief of Mendell’s Criminal Division, Ian Stearns and Adam Deitch, of Mendell’s Criminal Division, are prosecuting the case.