Frank A. Rubino , ESQ.

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Former Hialeah mayor and wife beat tax crime charges

On April 29, the former mayor of Hialeah, Julio Robaina and his wife Raiza, were acquitted by a Miami, Florida, federal jury on tax crimes alleging that the pair had conspired to avoid paying $2 million in taxes and lied to authorities about it. In all, the defendants each faced tax-evasion conspiracy charges and two false tax-return offenses for 2006 and 2007. Additionally, the government charged both of them for lying to federal investigators about the relationship the mayor had with a loan company owned by his wife. The two-week trial by a 12 member jury ended in the defendant's acquittal on all charges.

According the defendant's attorney, the government's case against the couple began in 2011 when overzealous Internal Revenue Service investigators set their sights on taking down a high-profile politician like Julio Robaina. At that time Robaina was involved in a runoff election for Miami-Dade County mayor. The defendant's lawyer says that authorities nabbed a known ponzi-scheme con artist who had received a $750,000 loan from a loan company operated by Raiza Robaina, and were attempting to leverage the con-man's testimony in exchange for his testimony that the defendant's had accepted over $300,000 in cash loan payments which were never reported to the IRS.

In a compelling defense, the defendant's attorney pointed out that the government's star witness against the former mayor and his wife was convicted of swindling $40 million from the defendants and other victims, and that he was attempting to get a reduction in his 10-year prison sentence by fabricating a story against them.

As this case illustrates, criminal defendants are presumed innocent until the prosecution proves the charges against them beyond a reasonable doubt. Also noteworthy is the statement by one of the jurors who said that the prosecution failed to show that the defendant's had the intent to commit a tax crime, and that most of the discrepancies could be attributed to human error rather than a purposeful scheme. If you are currently facing similar circumstances with regard to tax crimes you need an attorney on your side who will cast doubt on the government's case. You need someone who specializes in defending persons accused of such crimes to articulate your position forcefully in court. The stakes are too high for you to attempt to go it alone.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, wife acquitted of tax evasion charges" Jay Weaver, Apr. 29, 2014

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