A Central Florida couple has pleaded guilty to fraud, conspiracy and underreporting payroll in a scheme that produced fake certificates of insurance for construction workers in order to reduce workers’ compensation insurance costs.
Guillermo Inamagua, 56, of Davenport, Florida, and Mayra Velasquez, 34, of Apopka, operated First Construction and Best Construction, federal prosecutors said. They supplied dozens of workers, many of them illegal immigrants, to construction sites. The couple obtained workers comp insurance, but vastly underreported the number of workers on their companies’ payroll, according to court documents.
Altogether, the two cashed more than $25 million in checks from construction contractors, some of which were used to pay workers in cash to avoid federal taxes, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida said in a statement.
The loss to the Internal Revenue Service amounted to more than $6 million. The insurance companies that were defrauded of premiums were not named in the court record. Inamagua admitted that he had obtained more than $1.5 million from the scheme, which has been transferred to third parties and cannot be recovered, according to his plea agreement.
Inamagua and Velasquez must now forfeit property in Florida, pay restitution and fines, and serve time in prison. Each charge carries fines of up to $250,000 and five years imprisonment, prosecutors said.
The arrest of the couple earlier this year was part of a larger effort to prosecute construction-related fraud in the Tampa area, prosecutors said. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Florida Department of Financial Services.
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