Columbia man sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison for failure to pay taxes

Columbia man sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison for failure to pay taxes
(Source: KLTV)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Rafael Salas Jr., 52, has been sentenced to a year and a half in federal prison after pleading guilty to failing to pay to the government taxes he withheld from his employees’ paychecks.

According to evidence presented to the court, Salas owned and operated Moonshiner’s Patio Bar and Grill from January 2014 through August 2016. Approximately 20 individuals were employed at the restaurant during this time.

Officials say Salas failed to file Moonshiner’s quarterly tax returns, failed to fully pay the company’s employment taxes, and withheld trust fund taxes from his employees’ wages.

Salas used the money to pay for personal expenses including $36,000 for his personal dwelling, $11,000 for a boat and trailer, and expenses of roughly $10,000 at a local strip club.

Salas was also on probation for a 2016 federal conviction for conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce at the time of this offense.

“I am thankful for the partnership of the IRS and our U.S. Attorney’s Office to see justice on this case,” said United States Attorney Peter M. McCoy, Jr. “We stand ready to continue protecting taxpayers from criminal activity.”

“Employers have a legal obligation to withhold and pay the appropriate amount of taxes for their employees,” said Matthew D. Line, Special Agent in Charge, IRS Criminal Investigation, Charlotte Field Office. “The defendant’s federal prison sentencing is clear recognition of the serious consequences awaiting those who skirt this obligation.”

Salas was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, to be followed by a three-year term of court-ordered supervision.

This case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

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