YouTuber Waldys Off Road accused of tax evasion
By The Star Staff
Authorities filed 14 counts for tax evasion and fraud against YouTuber and influencer Waldemar Santos Flores, known as Waldys Off Road, in the first case of its kind in Puerto Rico.
The announcement was made Wednesday at a press conference held by Justice Secretary Domingo Emanuelli Hernández and Treasury Secretary Francisco Parés Alicea.
Parés Alicea said the Treasury Department is monitoring other social media influencers for tax evasion.
Emanuelli Hernández said Santos Flores and his wife Arlene Jiménez Rodríguez failed to report $1.8 million on their income tax returns.
The couple faces violations to Section 6030.16 (a) of the Internal Revenue Code of Puerto Rico, for submitting false and fraudulent returns, individually and as representatives of two corporations and failing to pay $900,000 in taxes.
“Those who do not comply with the payment of taxes that correspond to them are not only violating the law, but also placing a burden on the men and women of Puerto Rico who pay taxes, and they also adversely affect daily life since progress is interrupted when people like this and other evaders stop paying their taxes”, Emanuelli Hernández said at the press conference.
Parés Alicea noted that “according to the investigation, Santos Flores has a workshop in the Municipality of Cidra that is dedicated to the repair and modification of off-road vehicles, specializing in the Jeep brand.”
“In addition, he buys and sells specialized parts and accessories for motor vehicles,” the Treasury chief said.
“Just by looking at the content that this man creates through social networks, one could realize that they are not just any Jeep, that they are definitely carrying out heavy modifications to vehicles,” Parés Alicea said.
He said Santos Flores and his wife failed to report in excess of $1 million in income in their personal and corporate forms between 2017 and 2020.
The Waldys Off Road YouTube channel has around 167,000 subscribers and is used in part to promote its services.
“One would think that the most ‘hardcore’ vehicle modification store in Puerto Rico should show substantial profits and unfortunately it did not,” the Treasury secretary said.
Likewise, Santos Flores appears in the Department of State as the sole officer and shareholder of the corporation W-OR Inc., dedicated to the purchase and sale of accessories, motor vehicle parts and commercial signage. The Youtuber and his wife also appear as the sole shareholders of Waldys Enterprise Inc., created to run food businesses, in this case, a pizzeria.