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3 charged in $2.1 million tax evasion case in Puerto Rico

March 26, 2015

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A doctor and two business owners in Puerto Rico were charged Thursday in a $2.1 million tax evasion case in the U.S. territory’s latest crackdown against suspected tax evaders.

Justice Secretary Cesar Miranda said Dr. Roberto Garcia Morales has a debt of at least $1.9 million on $6.5 million in income he failed to declare on tax returns from 2009 to 2012. Garcia is an ophthalmologist in the western town of Mayaguez. He did not immediately return a message for comment.

Miranda said one business owner, the president of a local Taco Maker restaurant, is charged with withholding more than $58,000 in sales tax revenue owed to the government. Pedro Bigay Silva is accused of submitting only $34 worth of sales tax revenue from 2009 to 2012. He could not be reached for comment.

The other business owner, the president of a calibration services company, is charged with withholding more than $100,000 in employee tax contributions. Juan Oliveras Ortiz of Instrumentation Corps, Inc. is accused of submitting roughly $23,000 from 2011 to 2013 and keeping the remainder for personal use. Oliveras did not return a message for comment.

The charges come as the legislature debates a proposed reform to cut down tax on evasion as well as institute a 16 percent value-added tax.

Puerto Rico’s Justice Department said it was reviewing 17 other potential tax evasion cases. A division within the island’s Treasury Department is investigating 660 other such cases.

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