The U.S. Department of Justice announced Jan. 9 the sentencing of two Jacksonville men on conspiracy, tax fraud and other charges.
U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard sentenced Raul Solis to 33 months and his son, Raul Solis-Martinez, to 21 months in federal prison.
According to court documents, Solis and Solis-Martinez owned and operated Solis Brothers Company LLC and Duval Framing LLC, construction subcontracting companies in Jacksonville.
The men were convicted of conspiring to defraud the IRS and to unlawfully employ workers who were neither lawfully admitted to, nor authorized to be employed in the U.S.
The court also ordered the defendants pay $5.61 million in restitution to the IRS.
Solis-Martinez, 33, plead guilty July 27 and Solis, 52, plead guilty Aug. 4.
To lower labor costs, they conspired with each other, and Hugo Cruz-Medina, 35, the owner of H&S Framing LLC, to partially pay employees “off the books.”
In a related case, Cruz-Medina was sentenced in February 2021 to 41 months in federal prison for conspiring to defraud the IRS, conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud and illegally reentering the U.S. after previously being deported.
By paying employees with a combination of checks and cash, the conspirators avoided withholding the full amount of payroll taxes owed to the government.
For five years beginning in 2014, their workers received approximately $22.19 million in wages that were not reported to the IRS and from which no taxes were withheld. This practice led to a loss to the U.S. Treasury of approximately $5.61 million.
In addition, by misrepresenting how much their employees were working, Solis and Solis-Martinez also defrauded the company that managed their payroll functions, as well as their workers’ compensation insurer, both of which relied on the conspirators’ false payroll reporting to calculate the cost of their services.
“Employers have a responsibility to their employees to withhold the proper amount of taxes and pay those taxes over to the IRS,” IRS Acting Special Agent in Charge Ronald Loecker said in a news release.
“In this instance, greed drove the defendants to cheat their competitors and steal from both their employees and the American public. Today’s sentencing demonstrates that you can’t expect integrity and loyalty from an employer who would do anything for money,” Loecker said.
“This father and son criminal team profited financially by perpetrating fraud against the United States and private industry, while taking advantage of the country’s workforce,” Homeland Security Investigations Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips said in the release.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation, HSI, U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General and the Florida Department of Financial Services. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Coolican.