Three in Mass. Plead Guilty in $30 Million Unreported Payroll Scheme

Three Quincy, Mass. residents pleaded guilty on Tuesday as their federal trial was to begin on charges they failed to pay required taxes and insurance for hundreds of temporary workers over a decade.

Prosecutors said the unreported cash payroll totaled about $30 million for workers, many of whom were Vietnamese immigrants, performing manual labor at factories and warehouses in Massachusetts from December 1995 through the end of 2004.

Federal prosecutors said Tina Le, 50; Steven Nguyen, 48; and Mercedes Acar, 32, pleaded guilty to an indictment charging them with conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and commit mail fraud, and with filing false tax returns.

The three allegedly concealed their activities through the use of shell corporations, frequently reincorporating under another name to avoid scrutiny by the IRS or insurance auditors, prosecutors said.

Under a plea agreement that is subject to court approval, Le would receive eight years and one month in prison, Nguyen seven years and three months, and Acar five years and 10 months. They also agreed to forfeit their house in Quincy, a Brockton warehouse and bank accounts and luxury cars, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.

Sentencing was set for Sept. 14.