The United States Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Florida, March 10, 2022
Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces that Guillermo Inamagua (56, Davenport) and Mayra Velasquez (34, Apopka) have pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Each faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, Inamagua and Velasquez each owned and managed a construction company which they had registered with the State of Florida. Inamagua’s company was named First Construction and Velasquez’s company was named Best Construction. These companies purported to supply construction services and a labor force to work for construction contractors. As such, each company was required to secure and maintain adequate worker’s compensation insurance coverage in order to comply with Florida law. The providers of worker’s compensation insurance based the premiums they charged and the amount of coverage they provided on the number of employees a company had and the total annual payroll of those employees. Inamagua’s and Velasquez’s companies each had agreements with contractors and subcontractors to use workers purported to be their company’s employees at construction sites. These workers were often undocumented aliens who were actually working for and under the daily supervision and direction of the contractors. Inamagua and Velasquez or others would regularly receive “payroll checks” from these contractors that were cashed at various financial institutions to pay the purported “employees” of either Best or First Construction.
During the time periods charged in their respective criminal informations, Inamagua and Velasquez each falsely and fraudulently represented in insurance applications that their company had very limited payroll and a very limited number of employees that worked on construction jobsites. They also caused the transmission of false and fraudulent wire communications to numerous contractors representing that their companies’ employees had full worker’s compensation coverage. In reality, Inamagua’s company received and cashed more than $18 million in checks from various construction contractors for his purported employees. This payroll figure far exceeded the very limited payroll figures that Inamagua had reported to his worker’s compensation insurance company. Velasquez’s company received and cashed more than $7 million in checks from various construction contractors for her purported employees. This payroll figure far exceeded the very limited payroll figures that Velasquez had reported to her worker’s compensation insurance company. As a result, these employees performed work on jobsites without adequate insurance coverage. In addition, the insurers lost premiums they would have charged had they been aware of the true number of workers their policies were being manipulated to cover.
As a result of these misrepresentations, Best and First Construction also disclaimed responsibility for ensuring that jobsite workers were legally authorized to work in the United States and that required state and federal payroll taxes were being paid for these workers. Thus, the contractors who actually paid these workers’ wages and used their services were also able to avoid responsibility for those duties as well. Over the course of this conspiracy, Inamagua’s misrepresentations caused a loss to the IRS of approximately $4,673,571 in unpaid payroll taxes. Velasquez’s misrepresentations caused a loss to the IRS in the amount of approximately $1,769,000.
These two cases are part of a series of prosecutions related to similar construction industry-related fraud in the Tampa Bay area. This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the State of Florida Department of Financial Services – Division of Investigative and Forensic Services. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay L. Hoffer.