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Newberry Roofer sentenced in Tax Fraud Case

Newberry business owner who last year pleaded guilty to tax fraud involving $1.7 million and harboring undocumented immigrants, was sentenced late Monday to one year and one day in prison.

Mac Johnson, 51, also agreed to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service as part of the plea he entered in February 2018, according to a U.S. Attorney’s Office news release.

The case represents a get-tough approach to tax fraud and other offenses, said Mary Hammond, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Tampa field office.

The sentencing should send a “tough message” to business owners who try to gain an unfair advantage by not paying employment taxes, she said in the release. By withholding the taxes, Johnson was able to undercut the competition, the release said.

Rod Smith, Johnson’s attorney, said full restitution has already been made. Smith said he believes the judge was impressed with that and with Johnson admitting to the charges. Court records show Johnson paid $1.18 million.

About 60 people attended the sentencing hearing to support Johnson, Smith said.

“The judge made a difficult decision. I think the judge did the best he could to balance out all that occurred,” Smith said. “The other thing that was critically important to us was to keep the businesses operating. The employees will still have their jobs.”

Johnson owns roofing, tree service and trash-container businesses. He devised a scheme to conceal the amount of wages earned by undocumented employees to avoid paying more than $1.7 million in federal income, Medicare and Social Security taxes, and more than $1 million in Florida worker compensation premiums.

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