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A Florida businessman was arraigned yesterday in Miami, after a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging him with willful failure to pay over employment taxes to the IRS.

According to the indictment, Ari Weingrad, of Miami, operated two car rental companies, Rent Max Miami, Inc. and Rent Max North, Inc., both of which had locations throughout Florida. In 2016, Weingrad allegedly was responsible for filing quarterly employment tax returns and collecting and paying over to the IRS employment taxes withheld from employees’ wages. Weingrad allegedly withheld these funds from his employees, but he did not fully pay the withholdings over to the IRS. According to the indictment, during the same time period, Weingrad used corporate funds from the businesses to pay for personal items, including payments to his wife and himself and expenses related to a yacht.

If convicted, Weingrad faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each of three counts of willful failure to pay over employment taxes. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez for the Southern District of Florida made the announcement.

IRS-Criminal Investigation is investigating the case.

Trial Attorney Patrick Elwell of the Tax Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ana Maria Martinez of the Southern District of Florida are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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