Two Florida businessmen, David Aaron and Russell Ultes, were sentenced today to 18 months and nine months in prison, respectively, for a scheme to evade over $1.1 million in income taxes.
According to court documents and statements made in court, Aaron and Ultes were co-owners of Marlin Construction Group LLC (Marlin), a Fort Myers-based residential and commercial roofing company. In 2018 and 2019, Aaron and Ultes diverted millions of dollars of customer checks made payable to Marlin, by cashing them at check-cashing businesses in nearby counties. Aaron and Ultes used the cash to pay personal expenses, such as the purchase of jet-skis, boats and vehicles.
To carry out the scheme, Aaron and Ultes caused Marlin’s books and records to falsely underreport the business’s gross receipts and income for those years. Aaron and Ultes provided false information to Marlin’s tax return preparers, resulting in the preparation of false 2018 and 2019 corporate income tax returns (Forms 1120S) that did not report all gross receipts and income. Because the income from the false corporate returns flowed through to Aaron and Ultes’s personal returns, their 2018 and 2019 personal income tax returns (Forms 1040) were similarly false. In total, Aaron and Ultes caused a tax loss to the IRS of over $1.13 million.
U.S. District Judge Sheri P. Chappell for the Middle District of Florida also ordered that, in addition to their prison sentences, Aaron serve three years of supervised release and pay a $50,000 fine and that Ultes serve nine months of home confinement, followed by three years of supervised release and pay a $75,000 fine.
Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida made the announcement.
IRS-Criminal Investigation investigated the case.