SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Margarita Botti-Nieves was sentenced by United States District Court Senior Judge Francisco A. Besosa to serve 24 months in prison followed by a supervised release term of three years, announced United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow. On October 11, 2022, Botti-Nieves was indicted and pleaded guilty to misappropriation of funds, tax evasion, and obstruction of a tax investigation.
Defendant Margarita Botti-Nieves was an employee, accountant, and agent of Programa de Apoyo y Enlace Comunitario, Inc. (“PAEC”). PAEC was a non-profit corporation organized in Puerto Rico which received and administered benefits under various Federal programs involving grants, contracts, and Federal assistance. According to court documents, from in or about September 2016 and continuing until June 2019, the defendant did willfully evade the payment of a substantial portion of the employment taxes owed by PAEC to the United States of America, by committing the following affirmative acts among others:
a. Caused submission of false statements to the IRS;
b. Provided false information and fraudulent documentation to PAEC for purported payments to the IRS which were never made;
c. Caused the preparation of false tax documents that misreported PAEC employees’ tax witholdings;
d. Caused funds to be transferred from PAEC bank account to different accounts defendant controlled in order to divert funds to be used for personal expenses.
e. Caused the tax returns to be filed with the IRS in an attempt to evade and defeat the payment of employment taxes due and owing by PAEC to the United States.
“Convictions such as this send a loud and clear message that those who defy our nation’s tax laws will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Muldrow.
“The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration will continue to aggressively pursue those who attempt to defraud the Federal tax system and undermine the integrity of the Internal Revenue Service,” stated J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General of Tax Administration. “We appreciate the efforts of our law enforcement partners and the United States Attorney’s Office to ensure this criminal activity is held to account.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney María L. Montañez prosecuted the case. The case was investigated by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration; the Internal Revenue Service, Office of Criminal Investigations; United States Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General; AmeriCorps-The Corporation for National and Community Service; Department of Justice Office of Inspector General.
USAO - Puerto Rico;Office of the Inspector General;
Corporation for National and Community Service OIG