Frank A. Rubino , ESQ.

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Guilty plea in Florida tax crime case

Florida has seen its share of financial malfeasance in recent years. State authorities are working in concert with federal officials to address the problem, often with substantial success. Even so, there are periodically high-profile cases, like the alleged tax crime by a prominent South Florida criminal defense attorney.

The man, 57, has long been a well-known lawyer and civic leader in Miami. He has also been a leader in the African-American community. In the past several years, he has been appointed to a number of statewide commissions by Florida governors. Those appointments have even included one to the Florida Commission on Ethics. Additionally, he served as Chair of the Public Health Trust, which is the governing board of the Jackson Health System.

Now, however, he has pleaded guilty to having filed false tax returns. The guilty plea, in response to two tax-evasion charges means that he will serve approximately 12 months of probation. He will also be required to pay $78,842 to the government as restitution.

In a statement, the man says that he already paid that amount, and notes that both charges were misdemeanors. He further says that the matter is seven years old, and that his probation may be terminated as soon as the end of this month. In the meantime, he will need to contend with an inquiry being pursued by the Florida Bar, the organization in charge of regulating lawyers in the state.

Tax crime offenses are very serious and can result in a number of penalties. Those penalties can range from incarceration to payment requirements. Anyone accused of a tax crime should seek an attorney who is experienced in this field of law and begin to build a defense right away.

Source: Miami Herald, "Prominent Miami attorney Larry Handfield pleads guilty to filing false tax returns" David Ovalle, Dec. 23, 2013

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