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Shell Company Operators Sentenced in Multi-Million Dollar Wire and Payroll Fraud Scheme


November 9, 2023


Chief United States District Court Judge Timothy J. Corrigan has sentenced Omar Wilkin Santos-Calix and Oscar Rene Santos-Santos, both Honduran nationals and both illegally present in United States, to 24 months in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit tax fraud.


The court also ordered Santos-Calix to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $3,245,161 and entered a money judgment against Santos-Calix in the amount of $897,870, representing the proceeds of the wire fraud. The court ordered Santos-Santos to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $1,773,429 and entered a money judgement against Santos-Santos in the amount of $490,634, representing the proceeds of the wire fraud.


According to court documents, Santos-Calix and Santos-Santos established a shell company that purported to be involved in the construction industry. They obtained a workers’ compensation insurance policy in the name of the shell company to cover a minimal payroll for a few purported employees, then “rented” the workers’ compensation insurance to work crews who had obtained subcontracts with construction contractors on projects in various Florida counties as well as contractors in other states.


Santos-Calix and Santos-Santos sent the contractors a certificate as “proof” that the work crews had workers’ compensation insurance, as required by Florida law. By sending the certificate, the defendants falsely represented that the work crews worked for the two companies. Over the course of the scheme, the defendants “rented” the certificates to dozens of work crews, defrauding the worker’s compensation insurance carrier.


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