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Father and son contractors jailed for tax fraud

Illustration by Denis Carrier
A father and son who owned contracting businesses in Jacksonville, Florida have gone to prison for employing undocumented workers and paying them off the books.

Raul Solis, 52, was jailed for 33 months and his son Raul Solis-Martinez, 33, for 21 months after pleading guilty to conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

According to court documents, the father and son owned two specialist subcontractors, Solis Brothers Company and Duval Framing, based in Jacksonville.

To cut labour costs they conspired with Hugo Cruz-Medina, the owner of another subcontractor, to pay employees without declaring the money to the IRS. Between 2014 and 2019, workers received more than $22m that was not reported, leading to a tax loss to the US government of just over $5.6m.

Solis and Solis-Martinez also defrauded the company that managed their payroll, as well as their workers’ compensation insurer, both of which relied on the conspirators’ false payroll reporting to calculate the cost of their services.

In addition, Solis and Solis-Martinez knew that many of their employees were not authorised to work in the US. Some workers had been previously deported, including Cruz-Medina, only to return and work for Solis and Solis-Martinez.

In February 2021, Hugo Cruz-Medina, 35, was sentenced to 41 months’ imprisonment for conspiring to defraud the IRS, conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, and illegally reentering the United States after previously being deported. 

Ronald Loecker, a special agent for the IRS, commented: “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.”    

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