Miami business owner sentenced to prison for employment tax crime


Date: March 30, 2023


Miami — Miami resident Ari P. Weingrad has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for willfully failing to pay over employment taxes to the IRS.

Weingrad owned and operated two car rental companies, Rent Max Miami Inc., and Rent Max North Inc., both of which had locations throughout Florida. As the sole owner and chief executive officer of Rent Max Miami and as the co-owner and president of Rent Max North, Weingrad knew he was responsible for collecting, accounting for, and paying over payroll taxes withheld from his employees' wages to the IRS. Between 2011 and 2016, however, he withheld employment taxes from his employees' wages, and he failed to pay them over to the IRS. These employment taxes included income taxes as well as Medicare and Social Security taxes.

In total, Weingrad failed to pay approximately $850,000 in employment taxes owed to the IRS, including both the employer's and employee's share of employment taxes. Instead, he caused Rent Max Miami to spend corporate funds to pay discretionary expenses, including a $50,000 cashier's check to himself, $45,000 in cashier's checks payable to his wife, and expenses related to a 55-foot yacht.

Weingrad had also failed to pay employment taxes for a previous business. In imposing a sentence at the high end of the guideline range, the Court stated that Weingrad's failure to pay employment taxes was a serious offense that impacts employees as well. The Court stated that the sentence needed to promote respect for the law and provide deterrence to employers. The Court immediately remanded the defendant into custody.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida; acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg, Tax Division, U.S. Department of Justice; and Special Agent in Charge Matthew D. Line, IRS, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Miami Field Office, announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore.

IRS-CI, Miami Field Office, investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ana Maria Martinez for the Southern District of Florida, and Trial Attorney Patrick Elwell of the Tax Division, U.S. Department of Justice, prosecuted the case.