7 local fishermen indicted on tax fraud charges

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Federal grand juries in Providence and Boston returned separate indictments charging seven commercial fishermen with tax evasion and failing to file returns.

According to court documents, the fishermen each worked for fishing companies operating primarily out of New Bedford or Point Judith and receiving substantial compensation.

It is alleged the companies paid the fishermen as independent contractors and documented the income by filing Forms 1099 with the Internal Revenue Service.

Authorities believe that each of the seven fishermen did not file individual tax returns or pay all the taxes owed in income — some reportedly failed to file or pay taxes for more than a decade.

Officials said the fishermen allegedly cashed paychecks and then used the cash to fund their lifestyles.

One of the suspects reportedly used the name and social security number of another person to conduct business as a further effort to hide their income.

In some instances, officials said they allegedly filed false tax returns for certain years by either not reporting their fishing income or by reporting false business expenses.

It is further alleged that each fisherman evaded tax on between $900,000 and $1.9 million in income.

The seven fisherman indicted and there charges are as follows:

  • Jorge Cazarin of New Bedford
    • Tax evasion (five counts)
    • Willful failures to file tax returns (five counts)
  • Christopher Garraty of Newport and East Greenwich
    • Tax evasion (four counts)
    • Willful failure to file tax returns (three counts)
  • Wojciech Kaminski of West Warwick
    • Tax evasion (five counts)
    • Willful failiure to file tax returns (four counts)
  • Brian Kobus of Durham, Connecticut
    • Tax evasion (five counts)
  • Rodolfo Membreno of Fall River
    • Tax evasion (six counts)
    • Willful failiure to file tax returns (four counts)
  • John Doe of New Bedford
    • Tax evasion (six counts)
    • Willful failiure to file tax returns (three counts)
  • Miguel Cruz Rubio of New Bedford and Elizabethtown, North Carolina
    • Tax evasion (four counts)

Authorities said if convicted, each suspect faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

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