Woman Sentenced & Fined $9 Million in Construction Fraud Regarding Ghost Employees
A Florida woman convicted of conspiring to defraud the United States and the Internal Revenue Service was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison. The lady managed two illegal construction labor enterprises in the Tampa region.
The woman identified as Gabriela Inamagua, 29, was further ordered by U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington to reimburse the IRS and two victim insurance companies for about $9 million. Inamagua entered a guilty plea to the allegations in October, as stated in a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office dated January 2.
Previously, Inamagua’s father and her father’s previous girlfriend were found guilty of comparable offenses. Concerning a rise in state and federal payroll tax evasion and workers’ compensation, federal agencies have recently brought attention to broader issues related to these cases.
According to court documents, Inamagua owned and operated two fake construction enterprises that claimed to provide labor and construction services to contractors and subcontractors. According to Florida law, Perfect Builders Group and Uno Construction have to get and keep sufficient worker’s compensation insurance.
According to the release, these “shell” companies had agreements with contractors and subcontractors to use workers at construction sites who were purportedly employed by Inamagua but were actually working for and under the daily supervision and direction of the contractors. Many of these workers were not authorized to work in the United States. After that, contractors would periodically send payroll checks to Inamagua and her businesses, which they would cash at several banks to cover the cost of paying Inamagua’s fictitious employees as well as other associated expenses.
According to the announcement, Inamagua’s businesses also avoided regulations requiring the payment of state and federal payroll taxes on behalf of these workers and denied any liability for guaranteeing that jobsite workers had the proper authorization to work in the country. Furthermore, none of the enterprises in Inamagua collected or remitted the necessary payroll taxes.
Additionally exempt from paying those taxes were the contractors who hired these personnel and paid their salaries. Those overdue payroll taxes came to a total of over $8.9 million.