How a Key West man used undocumented immigrants for work and a $3.5 million tax fraud

·2 min read

Of all the criminal acts Key West’s Volodymyr Ogorodnychuk admitted to in his guilty plea — encouraging illegal immigration, hiding more than 100 undocumented immigrants, making money from their illegal employment in the Florida Keys hospitality industry — what got him four years in prison?

Not giving the government its cut.

Ogorodnychuk’s admission of facts in pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States says he and his co-conspirators didn’t take any Social Security, Medicare and income taxes from the wages of those he exploited, shorting the Internal Revenue Service $3.5 million.

Also, Ogorodnychuk’s own tax returns for 2017 and 2018 omitted $23,000 that he made from two of his four employment companies he used in the scheme. He admitted making $272,000 from the scam he ran from January 2016 through October 2020.

Ogorodnychuk’s restitution will be determined in 90 days.

Paradise, Tropical City, and plausible deniability

Ogorodnychuk ran his scheme through four “employment” companies:

Paradise Choice LLC, which state records say was registered March 23, 2016, dissolved Sept. 22, 2017, and managed out of Key West by Andrei Baranouski;

Paradise Choice Cleaning LLC, which state records say was registered July 13, 2016, dissolved Sept. 25, 2020, and managed out of Key West by Mykhalo Chugay, who used a Hallandale Beach address as the company’s registered agent;

Tropical City Services LLC, which state records say was registered Nov. 29, 2017, remains active and managed out of Key West by Vladyslav Brovko;

Tropical City Group LLC, which state records say was registered Sept. 11, 2019, dissolved Sept. 25, 2020, and managed out of Key West by Yanina Strok.

These companies contracted with Keys hotels, bars and restaurants to provide employees.

“These agreements helped the defendant’s customers attempt to disclaim responsibility for ensuring that workers were legally authorized to work in the United States and that federal employment taxes were withheld and paid over to the IRS,” Ogorodnychuk’s admission says, “when, in fact, many of the defendant’s customers knew or had reason to believe that the workers provided under these agreements were not authorized to work in the United States and that federal income and employment taxes were not being withheld and paid over to the IRS.”

Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and IRS-Criminal Investigation did the investigating. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Clark and the U.S. Justice Department Tax Division’s Senior Litigation Counsel Sean Beaty, Trial Attorneys Jessica A. Kraft and Nicholas J. Schilling Jr. did the prosecuting.