LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael E. Yasofsky, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, (“IRS”), announced today’s conviction of defendant, Lucky Mata, 47, of West Palm Beach, owner of Kodiak Construction and Management, Inc., on multiple counts of evasion of federal payroll taxes from 1994 through 2005, resulting in more than $17,000,000 in unreported wages. After a nine-day trial, federal jurors returned quick verdicts after deliberating a little more than an hour. Mata was immediately taken into custody upon his conviction. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Mata was convicted of all ten counts against him: one count of conspiracy; six counts of causing the filing of false currency transaction reports; two counts of filing false federal payroll tax returns that substantially understated the true wages paid to employees of Kodiak Construction; and one count of obstructing a federal grand jury inquiry into the massive scheme. Mata faces a total maximum period of over ninety years’ incarceration on these charges.
This prosecution highlighted the practice in the construction industry of using illegal immigrants at work sites. According to the evidence at trial, Mata paid cash wages to most of his workers to avoid federal payroll tax obligations. The prosecution presented evidence that Mata used check cashers, posing as subcontractors, to perpetrate this scheme. Mata used these check cashers to lie to banks about where the cash was going after leaving the bank, and then caused multiple false federal payroll tax returns to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service on Form 941. The total scheme involved more than $17,000,000 in unreported Kodiak wages over a ten-year period. In addition, the obstruction count stemmed from Mata’s creation of false invoices during the grand jury investigation. These false invoices were designed to impede and obstruct the grand jury investigation into the payroll scheme.
Mr. Acosta praised the dedicated and thorough work of the Internal Revenue Service agents on this case. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.