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Not guilty verdict for mayor in Florida tax evasion case

The sheer volume of wealth that flow through Florida makes it a tempting place for those who want to commit financial crimes. However, sometimes even the most high-profile accusations of financial malfeasance prove to be false. This was determined to be the case in a recent tax evasion proceeding, with a Miami, Florida, jury returning a verdict of not guilty.

The case drew national attention because involves the former mayor of Hialeah, Florida. Along with his wife, he was accused of tax evasion and filing fraudulent returns. They were said to have hidden hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation, which included a $176,000 Ferrari sports car. Additionally, they were accused of being involved in questionable high-interest loans that were given to associates and friends. One of the friends was a convicted in a Ponzi scheme.

Prosecutors also alleged that the couple used shell companies, which did minimal or no business, as a way to claim thousands of dollars in tax deductions. In fact, the prosecutors say, the money claimed as tax deductions went to the couple's political and personal expenses. These included things like cuff links and cigar boxes given as gifts and the printing of Christmas cards. Their attorney said that there were mistakes made by the couple's accountant, but that they did not knowingly submit anything false of fraudulent.

This case illustrates why every tax evasion case in Florida deserves a fair hearing in a court of law. Even when the accusations are numerous and high-profile, as they were in this case, the defendants may be acquitted. Anyone facing tax evasion charges in Florida can maximize their own chances of success in court by working with an experienced attorney.

Source: Miami CBS Local, "Jury Finds Ex-Hialeah Mayor & Wife Not Guilty Of Tax Evasion" Peter D'Oench, Apr. 29, 2014

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