The Puerto Rico Justice Department announced Monday the filing of 123 charges against the Bahía Salinas Beach Hotel — also known as the Grand Bahía Ocean View Hotel — for room tax evasion totaling $199,630, agency Secretary Wanda Vázquez confirmed.
The money charged to hotel guests is supposed to be remitted to the Puerto Rico Tourism Co.
San Juan Superior Court Judge Edgar S. Figueroa-Vázquez found probable cause for arrest related to the 123 complaints of misappropriation of public funds under the Room Occupancy Tax Act 272 of Sept. 9, 2003.
The charges were filed against Bahía Salinas Beach Hotel Inc., Hispanic American Foundation for Autism, Sea View Enterprises Inc., Grand Bay Ocean View Hotel and Angel Providencio López-Nunci, who are shareholders, owners and/or managers of the property located in Cabo Rojo.
The global bond imposed was $20,500 and the preliminary hearing was set for July 5, the agency confirmed
The Tourism Co. referred this case against Bahía Salinas Beach Hotel Inc. to the Justice Department for investigation, under Article 20 of Act 272. According to the investigation, from January 2014 to May 2017, the hotel allegedly charged and withheld the room tax occupancy fee from guests, but failed to remit it to the Tourism Co.
According to the aforementioned law, “every hotelier…is obliged to collect and retain the tax will remit to the Tourism Co. on a monthly basis the total amount of tax collected during the period between the first and the last day of each month. This consignment should be made no later than the tenth day of the month after the tax is collected.”
“The Justice Department continues to exercise its functions to enforce tax laws that feed the government’s coffers, Vázquez said. “We can not allow private companies to obviate their tax liability. The Department will continue to advance ongoing investigations and predicts that additional cases will come up,”
Prosecutor Brenda Aponte-Rosado, of the Division of Economic Crimes, along with Agent Elsa Hernández-Morales, of the Bureau of Special Investigations investigated this case.
The 30-room hotel is nestled in the heart of a 2,800-acre natural and wildlife reserve in Cabo Rojo.