The Fight Against Tax Evasion Ramps Up
Treasury and Justice Team Up to Tackle Complex Cases
Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea said his agency is working more closely with the commonwealth Justice Department as well as the U.S. government to crack down on tax evaders, particularly on more “sophisticated” high-profile cases involving people hiding their earnings from businesses in emerging markets. Parés stressed that such efforts have led to the arrests of at least six people who presumably did not report a combined total of $22.7 million in earnings and avoided paying a total of $15.1 million in assessed income taxes to the commonwealth government.
One of the most recent and prominent of these cases is that of Jorge Christian Batista Agront, a 32-year old influencer, YouTuber and currency market trader who was arrested on July 13 after the Economic Crimes Division of the Justice Department filed charges against him for allegedly not reporting $11 million in earnings, on which now he owes $7.6 million in income, personal and corporate taxes for each year between 2017 and 2022.
The agency division filed five charges against Batista for not filing returns, in violation of section 6030.11 of the Puerto Rico Internal Revenue Code. Four of the charges are related to his personal payroll and one is related to the payroll of his company, JetTrades. The influencer, who claims to be an expert on cryptocurrencies, could face three to eight years in prison for each charge and a fine of up to $20,000.
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