GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A Florida man was sentenced Tuesday to 366 days in prison for tax fraud, wire fraud, structuring financial transactions to evade reporting requirements, and harboring undocumented aliens.
Mac Johnson, 51, of Newberry, was sentenced in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida after he pleaded guilty on Feb. 27, 2018 to the charges.
Lawrence Keefe, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, said in a release: “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.
Others spoke out on the case.
“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.”
Attorneys said 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 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, with assistance from the Florida Dept. of Financial Services, Division of Insurance. Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory P. McMahon prosecuted the case.
“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.”
The Florida sentencing came about a month after a 47-year-old man from central Illinois was sentenced to three years in prison for harboring and employing illegal aliens, among other things. In October, a 72-year-old contractor was sentenced to a year in prison for not paying taxes on more than $6 million in revenue.