Orlando man sentenced in $3.5M construction tax evasion case

Wendel Algarin gets 30 months for assisting subcontractors in fraud

Florida Man Sentenced in Construction Tax Evasion Case
(Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

An Orlando construction company owner has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for his role in a $3.5 million tax evasion scheme.

Orlando businessman Wendel Algarin was sentenced by a federal judge last week after pleading guilty on Aug. 15 to tax fraud for operating a scheme from 2012 to 2019, aiding subcontractors in evading payroll taxes and workers’ compensation insurance premiums, a U.S. Department of Justice press release said

Court documents reveal that Algarin collaborated with subcontractors to pay undocumented construction workers “off the books.” Facilitating the offense, he ran three shell companies that subcontractors used to falsely list their employees’ employers.

In exchange for his assistance, Algarin received fees totaling nearly $2 million, which he used to fuel a lavish lifestyle, including the purchase of multiple luxury automobiles. 

The scheme resulted in a defrauding of the United States of more than $3.5 million in tax revenues.

Algarin is hardly the only person in construction to be punished for tax evasion. 

A New Jersey contractor several months ago was arrested on charges of federal tax evasion. 

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Joel Konopka, 45, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was charged with four counts of corporate tax evasion, two counts of filing false corporate tax returns, and two counts of failing to file corporate tax returns, according to a U.S. Department of Justice.

Konopka was the owner and sole shareholder of Konopka Construction, a company providing construction, contracting, and snow plowing services in northern New Jersey from 2014 to 2017.

According to court documents, Konopka allegedly failed to file truthful and accurate corporate tax returns for his company during that period, despite earning over $3.3 million in business income between 2014 and 2017, including more than $1 million in 2016. 

Konopka did not report this income accurately. He filed corporate tax returns for 2014 and 2015 that reported no income for his company, and he failed to file any corporate tax returns for 2016 and 2017. Additionally, Konopka is accused of not making any payments to the IRS for corporate taxes during these years. 

Konopka is alleged to have concealed the income earned by his company by predominantly operating in cash. He received numerous checks made payable to Konopka Construction for services rendered, totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

— Ted Glanzer