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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Alachua County Man Sentenced to Prison for Harboring Undocumented Aliens and Evading Workers' Compensation and Payroll Taxes

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Mac Johnson, 51, of Newberry, Florida, was sentenced late yesterday to one year and a day in prison, after pleading guilty on February 27, 2018, to tax fraud, wire fraud, structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements, and harboring undocumented aliens.  As part of Johnson’s plea, he agreed to make restitution to the IRS.  Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the sentence.

U.S. Attorney Keefe said: “I commend the vigilance of our federal and state investigative partners and prosecutors in this case for upholding the laws governing American taxes and employment.  Honest individuals and businesses are harmed by these lawbreakers.”

“Today’s sentencing should send a tough message to all of those businesses who believe they can gain an unfair advantage by not paying employment taxes … you will pay in the end,” stated Mary Hammond, Special Agent in Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation, Tampa Field Office.  “The more than $1.7 million in unpaid employment taxes hurt everyone in the community.  By not withholding and paying these taxes, the defendant was able to undercut the competition and make an unfair profit at the expense of the taxpayers.  Our agents will continue to crack down on businesses and individuals who openly disregard this responsibility.”

“This case is an example of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) worksite enforcement investigations, which focus on protecting our nation’s critical infrastructures, reducing the demand for illegal employment and protecting employment opportunities for the country's lawful workforce,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero. “Today’s sentencing should be a reminder about the consequences facing employers who exploit illegal alien labor and violate our nation's laws.  No employer, regardless of size, industry, or location, is above the law.”

Johnson, a roofing, tree service, and dumpster business employer, devised a scheme to conceal the amount of wages earned by his undocumented alien employees to avoid paying more than $1.7 million in federal income, Medicare, and social security taxes, as well as more than $1 million in Florida worker’s compensation premiums.  Johnson concealed the wages from the State of Florida by inaccurately and incompletely identifying all employees, representing that lower wages were paid than the true amounts, and paying by cash or a non-payroll check in amounts of less than $10,000 to avoid reporting requirements.

The investigators discovered that undocumented alien employees on work sites did not speak English or have any personal identification.  Their names did not match the names on the insurance policy, and the undocumented alien employees’ files contained employment eligibility verification forms that did not match their handwriting.  Johnson also provided transportation to the work sites and rented residences he owned to the undocumented workers for which he deducted money from their pay.

This case resulted from an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Insurance.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory P. McMahon prosecuted the case.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Immigration
Tax
Contact: 
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer amy.alexander@usdoj.gov
Updated March 26, 2019