Tax Fraud Trial For Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, Wife to Begin

Robaina pleads not guilty, wife's arraignment rescheduled for June 7

By Myriam Masihy and Brian Hamacher
|  Thursday, Apr 10, 2014  |  Updated 11:49 PM EDT
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Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina and Wife Make Court Appearance

NBC6.com

Julio Robaina and wife Raiza enter the federal courthouse in Miami on Friday, May 24, 2013.

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Former Hialeah Mayor Pleads Not Guilty to Tax Fraud Charges

Former Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina, who pleaded not guilty to tax fraud charges Friday morning, thanked his family and friends for their support as he spoke with reporters afterward. Robaina and his wife, Raiza Robaina, are charged with conspiring to evade their taxes, creating false returns and lying to federal agents. Hialeah resident Reina Guanche defended the Robainas, and former Hialeah councilman Jose Caragol said that Julio Robaina was transparent inside City Hall.

Julio Robaina Speaks With Reporters Following Arraignment

Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina pleaded not guilty to tax fraud charges during a formal arraignment Friday morning. He spoke with reporters following the brief hearing.
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The tax fraud trial against former Hialeah mayor Julio Robaina is set to begin on Friday.

Robaina and his wife, Raiza Robaina, are charged with conspiring to evade their taxes, creating false returns and lying to federal agents. Prosecutors say Robaina failed to disclose more than $1 million in income. That sum includes $300,000 he allegedly arranged to receive in cash to hide his spending on his alleged mistress from his wife, according to The Miami Herald.

Former Hialeah Mayor Indicted on Tax Fraud Charges

A 10-page indictment released last year claims the couple, who own a loan company, made six-figure transactions between 2005-2007 but reported small five-figure losses. Over those two years, officials allege the Robainas' taxable personal income was falsely understated, while Mr. Robaina's business tax forms showed inflated losses.

The alleged incidents took place while Julio Robaina was earning a salary of more than $200,000 as mayor. Prosecutors say that when questioned in 2010 the couple lied to federal agents about Julio Robaina's involvement in his wife's lending business.

The allegations were uncovered after convicted Ponzi schemer and Robaina acquaintance Luis Felipe Perez helped investigators, his attorney said in a statement to NBC 6. The information provided by Perez linked Robaina to a loan operation that paid him off with interest in cash, the attorney said.

Robaina served as Hialeah's mayor from 2005-2011 before resigning to run for mayor of Miami-Dade, an election he lost to Carlos Gimenez. Robaina, who has pleaded not guilty alongside his wife, said last year that they "know that when the facts are told in our day in court, we will be vindicated, our name will be cleared, and we will continue to help in this community."

 


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