Columbia man pleads guilty to failing to pay taxes withheld from employee paychecks

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– U.S. Attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr. says a Columbia man was sentenced to a year and a half in prison after pleading guilty to failing to pay taxes withheld from employee paychecks. Authorities say Rafael Salas Jr., 52, used the withheld funds to pay for personal expenses such as a boat and a strip club.

Authorities say Salas owned and operated Moonshiner’s Patio Bar and Grill in Lexington, with approximately 20 employees, from January 2014-September 2016. Officials say Salas failed to file quarterly tax returns and failed to pay the company’s full employment taxes withheld from employee paychecks. Officials say Salas used the withheld money to pay for personal expenses including $36,000 for his personal dwelling, $11,000 for a boat and trailer and roughly $10,000 for expenses at a strip club.

According to authorities, Salas was also on probation for a 2016 conviction for conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.

Officials say Salas was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison, followed by three years of court-ordered supervision.

Categories: Lexington, Local News, Richland