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Justice Served: Polk County Woman Receives Prison Term for Construction Tax Fraud Scheme

TAMPA, FLORIDA - In a landmark ruling, U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Hernandez Covington has sentenced Gabriela Inamagua to 12 months and one day in federal prison. This sentence comes as a result of Inamagua's involvement in a sophisticated construction-related tax fraud conspiracy. In addition to the prison term, Inamagua has been ordered to pay a staggering $8,953,629.24 in restitution to two victim insurance companies and the Internal Revenue Service. The guilty plea was entered on October 4, 2023.

Court documents revealed that Inamagua owned and managed two shell construction companies, which claimed to provide labor for construction contractors and subcontractors. Despite the legal requirement in Florida for adequate worker’s compensation insurance coverage, Inamagua’s companies made false representations. They engaged workers, many of whom were undocumented aliens, under the guise of being Inamagua's employees, while in reality, these workers were under the direct supervision of the contractors.

Inamagua engaged in deceptive practices by understating her companies' payroll and employee numbers in insurance applications. These misrepresentations led to the transmission of false communications to contractors, indicating full worker’s compensation coverage for her companies' employees.

Over the charged period, Inamagua’s companies received and cashed checks exceeding $34 million from various contractors for these workers. This amount vastly surpassed the payroll figures reported to insurance companies, leading to substantial losses in insurance premiums and inadequate insurance coverage for the workers.

Furthermore, Inamagua’s scheme involved disclaiming responsibility for verifying the legal work status of the workers and evading state and federal payroll taxes. Her companies failed to collect or remit over $8.9 million in payroll taxes, allowing contractors to similarly evade their tax responsibilities.

IRS-CI Acting Special Agent in Charge Tara K. Reed commented on the case, emphasizing the damaging impact of such fraudulent activities on the construction industry. Reed highlighted the commitment of the IRS-CI and law enforcement partners in tackling these schemes and ensuring justice.

This case, investigated by the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation and the State of Florida Department of Financial Services, with support from Homeland Security Investigations, marks a significant step in a broader investigation into the use of shell companies and ghost employees in the construction industry. Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer is prosecuting the case.

Inamagua's sentencing sends a strong message about the legal system's resolve to combat financial fraud and uphold tax laws, ensuring that all businesses and employees contribute their fair share to the nation's coffers.



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