Miami, Florida - A Miami, tire importer pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiracy to defraud the government, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Richard E. Zuckerman of the Department of Justice’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida.

According to court documents and statements made in court, Marco Parra operated Road Tire Plus Corp. (Road Tire), a tire importer located in Miami, Florida. From 2013 through 2016, Parra conspired with others in the tire industry to evade paying federal excise taxes on truck tires marked for highway use. Tire importers are responsible for excise taxes when their truck tires are sold to tire retailers, who then resell the tires domestically. Tire importers typically pass on the cost of the excise tax to tire retailers and collect the excise taxes from them. But, if the tires are later exported rather than sold domestically, the law provides for a credit for the excise taxes paid.

For some retailers, Parra sold truck tires subject to excise taxes. He collected the excise taxes that were due, but did not remit those taxes to the IRS and did not file tax returns reporting the tire sales as he was required. For others, Parra never collected the federal excise taxes due on the tire sales. Instead, Parra obtained false bills of lading claiming that the tires were exported, so that Parra could obtain an excise tax credit even though he knew the tires were not exported. As a result of Parra’s failure to timely file excise tax returns for 2014, 2015, and 2016, he caused an excise tax loss of approximately $887,112. Parra has since paid over $700,000 to the IRS.

U.S. District Judge Kathleen M. Williams scheduled sentencing for Feb. 18, 2021. Parra faces a statutory maximum of five years, as well as a period of supervised release, restitution, and monetary penalties.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Zuckerman and U.S. Attorney Orshan commended special agents of IRS-Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case and Trial Attorney Francesca Bartolomey and Assistant Chief Gregory Tortella, who are prosecuting the case.