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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Honduran Citizen Indicted For Conspiracy To Defraud The Internal Revenue Service of Payroll Taxes

 Jacksonville, Florida – A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment charging Oscar Arnelson Rodriguez-Cruz (40, Honduras) with conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of federal payroll taxes, specifically the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), Social Security, and Medicare taxes. He faces up to five years in federal prison. Rodriguz-Cruz was previously charged on January 31, 2018, with multiple counts of wire fraud. Rodriguez-Cruz is a Honduran citizen who is illegally present in the United States.      

The indictment alleges that Rodriguez-Cruz facilitated employment in the construction industry of individuals living and working illegally in the United States. Construction contractors and subcontractors entered into an agreement with a shell company established by Rodriguez-Cruz to provide workers, most of whom were illegal aliens, for the contractors and subcontractors. By obtaining and paying the workers through the shell company, the contractors and subcontractors could disclaim responsibility for ensuring that required payroll taxes were paid.

The contractors and subcontractors wrote payroll checks to the shell company for work performed by the workers. Rodriguez-Cruz cashed the checks and distributed cash to construction crew leaders, who then paid the workers in cash.  During the period of the scheme, Rodriguez-Cruz allegedly cashed payroll checks totaling $15,670,438. Neither Rodriguez-Cruz nor the contractors and subcontractors remitted payroll taxes to the IRS. According to the IRS, the estimated total amount of payroll taxes due on the total wages is approximately $3,964,621.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Arnold B. Corsmeier.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Tax
Component(s): 
Updated March 15, 2018