Owner of Mission-based company pleads guilty to fraud

MGN Online

The owner of a Mission-based construction company pleaded guilty Friday to a scheme to conceal $2.5 million from the IRS.

Delfino Gaona, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to defraud the federal government and one count of failing to file a currency transaction report by a non-financial trade or business, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

The charges stem from financial transactions through his company, Keystone Construction, from Dec. 1, 2014 through Nov. 14, 2018.

Federal law requires that any non-financial trade or business that received more than $10,000 in cash from at least one transaction must file a Form 8300 with the IRS.

Gaona, according to news release, received more than $2.5 million but structured the transactions and falsified receipts in an effort to avoid filing that IRS form.

He admitted to receiving large amounts of money for the construction of commercial and residential real estate projects, according to the criminal information filed in federal court on Wednesday. However, either he or his employees at his direction would alter existing real estate contacts or generate false contracts that didn’t disclose the true source and/or the cash form of the proceeds received from clients.

He would also generate false receipts so that it seemed he received smaller amounts of money over extended periods of time instead of a large amount of money all at once.

He is scheduled for sentencing on June 24 by U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez.

For his failure to file the report, Gaona faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $500,000. He also faces up to five years in prison and a fine up to $250,000 for the conspiracy charge.