Former Hialeah mayor charged with tax evasion

Julio Robaina, Raiza Villacis Robaina indicted

HIALEAH, Fla. - A former Hialeah mayor and his wife are expected to turn themselves in to federal authorities Friday and make their first appearance in federal court.

Former Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina, 47, and Raiza Villacis Robaina, 39, were indicted on tax evasion charges Thursday.

The Robainas are accused of receiving undisclosed cash payments as interest on more than $1 million in personal loans they made to old friends and associates, including convicted Ponzi schemer Luis Felipe Perez.

"The tax system is built on the premise that taxpayers file accurate tax returns," Michael J. DePalma, the head IRS investigator in Miami, said in a prepared statement. "No one is above the law and those who willfully violate our nation's tax laws will be held accountable for their actions."

READ: Indictment filed against the Robainas |

IRS agents examined Robaina's bank and other financial records for any deposits that seemed out of the ordinary for evidence that showed he evaded paying his full share of taxes. If a person receives any kind of interest payment on a loan, federal law requires that income to be reported to the IRS for possible taxation.

Both Robainas have been charged with conspiring to defraud the IRS by committing tax evasion and filing false tax returns. They also were charged with lying to federal agents.

"Our citizenship comes with many privileges, but also with attendant duties and responsibilities," Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer said in a statement. "Among those duties, each of us — regardless of station or position — is required to pay our fair share of taxes."

It wasn't immediately clear if the Robainas had an attorney, but Julio Robaina previously said that he reported all interest income from loans on his personal and corporate tax returns, before and after he became mayor in 2005. He left office in 2011 and unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Miami-Dade County.

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