Construction business operator sentenced to two years in prison for failing to pay more than $4.4 million of payroll taxes


Date: May 9, 2023


Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that Christian Varela, a former owner of a construction firm, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Philip M. Halpern to two years in prison for failing to pay to the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") more than $4.4 million of payroll taxes he collected from his employees. Varela pled guilty to one count of failure to pay payroll taxes in September 2022.

According to the Information to which Varela pled guilty and statements made in court:

Varela owned and operated Gibraltar Contracting, Inc. ("Gibraltar"), a contracting firm with more than 55 employees that handled federal and state government construction contracts. Varela was responsible under federal law for collecting, truthfully accounting for, and paying to the IRS federal income tax and contributions to Social Security and Medicare withheld from Gibraltar's employees' pay. In 10 different quarters from 2015 through 2018, Varela failed to pay to the IRS a total of more than $4.4 million of these payroll taxes.

In addition to his prison term, Varela, of Staten Island, New York, was sentenced to three years of supervised release and 12 months of home confinement. The Court also imposed restitution to the IRS of $4,404,564.60.

Mr. Williams praised the outstanding investigative work of the IRS-Criminal Investigation in this case.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office's White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey C. Coffman and James McMahon are in charge of the prosecution.