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Former Florida mayor, wife facing tax evasion charges

Tax evasion is a serious federal crime. Anyone charged with a tax crime will quickly find that attorneys play a crucial role in the process of defending the accused and negating the punishment and penalties that can result from a conviction. This may be on the mind of a former Florida mayor and his wife who are battling charges that they failed to pay taxes on a large amount of income derived from a loan made to a man who was convicted of operating a Ponzi scheme.

In documents that were unsealed Monday, prosecutors allege that Former Hialeah, Florida, mayor Julio Robaina and his wife failed to report so-called "shadow banking" income that was derived as interest on a $750,000 loan made to a man who is now serving a 10-year sentence for fraud. The couple also allegedly under-reported hundreds of thousands of dollars in income when filing tax returns for several tax years. Together, the pair is charged in a 10-page May 2011 indictment with conspiracy to defraud the United States, making and subscribing a false return, statement or other document, fraud, and false statement.

Prosecutors allege that Robaina demanded the man pay part of the loan payments in cash, and they go on to allege that the cash payments were used for the upkeep of the former mayor's mistress. The trial for the Robainas is scheduled to begin Apr. 10, 2014 in the U.S. District Court's Southern District of Florida.

Tax evasion and tax fraud are serious federal crimes that carry harsh penalties and stiff fines. Regardless of the charges, all defendants are entitled to a proper defense and do not have to accept having their rights imperiled. Defendants in tax evasion cases charged with criminal tax violations have the right to a fair trial and a decision of guilt or innocence by a jury of their peers. They also have the right to appeal any unfavorable verdict in their tax evasion cases to the limits of the law.

Source: CBS Miami Local, "Prosecutors: Former Hialeah Mayor Had Mistress, Hid Cash" No author given, Mar. 18, 2014

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