South Florida Tire Retailer Sentenced to Prison for Excise Tax Conspiracy
A Coral Springs, Florida, tire retailer was sentenced today in the Southern District of Florida for conspiracy to defraud the Government, announced U.S. Attorney Benjamin G. Greenberg for the Southern District of Florida and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.
Nestor Bastidas, 53, of Coral Springs, was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for conspiring to impede and impair the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with respect to excise taxes on tires.
According to documents and information provided to the court, Bastidas owned and operated The Fat Tires, Co., a tire retailer located in Coral Springs, Florida. Under federal law, tires marked for highway use are subject to federal excise tax. A tire importer is liable for the excise tax when the tires are sold. The importer typically passes on the cost of the excise tax to their customers and tire retailers. The law, however, provides for a refund of the excise tax if tires are exported overseas rather than sold domestically.
Bastidas purchased taxable tires from Banlu, Inc. and Banlu Tires, Inc., tire importers owned by co-conspirator Angel Gomez. Bastidas then purchased false bills of lading from International Trade-Logistics Services, Inc., a logistics company owned by another co-conspirator,Luis Gomez. The false bills of lading purported to show that the tires were exported offshore to the Dominican Republic and elsewhere. Both co‑conspirators knew, however, that Bastidas never exported tires. Bastidas gave Angel Gomez the false bills of lading, and Angel Gomez did not charge Bastidas the excise taxes due on the tires. Angel Gomez, then, filed with the IRS false Forms 720, Quarterly Federal Excise Tax Returns, which did not report the sale of the tires to Bastidas. Bastidas also purchased tires from, and submitted false bills of lading to, other tire importers from February 2013 through June 2016. Bastidas’ submission of false bills of lading caused a loss to the United States of approximately $335,000.
In addition to the term of imprisonment, U.S. District Court Chief Judge K. Michael Moore ordered Bastidas to serve three years of supervised release and pay $335,174 in restitution to the IRS.
Bastidas previously entered a guilty plea on April 25, 2018. Luis Gomez pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the Government on May 23, 2018 and is scheduled to be sentenced on August 8, 2018. Angel Gomez entered his guilty plea to the same conspiracy charge on June 13, 2018, and is scheduled to be sentenced on August 22, 2018.
U.S. Attorney Greenberg and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman commended the special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Tax Division Trial Attorney Mara Strier, Tax Division Assistant Chief Greg Tortella, and Southern District of Florida Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Larsen, who prosecuted the case.
Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.