Ex-Florida Mayor Allegedly Used Secret Cash From Ponzi Schemer For Mistress

AP

Federal prosecutors say former Hialeah, Fla. Mayor Julio Robaina had quite a thing going. Not only did he allegedly have dealings with a now-convicted Ponzi schemer, he was using cash payments from the man to spend money on a mistress he was keeping secret from his wife, according to The Miami Herald.

Robaina allegedly received more than $300,000 in cash from a close friend named Luis Felipe Perez, who is now in prison for running a $45 million jewelry-investment scam. Last year, Robaina and his wife, Raiza Robaina, were charged with conspiring to evade income taxes, failing to report cash payments, and lying to federal authorities about a joint business that made more than $1 million in loans to Perez and others. The Robainas both pleaded not guilty.

The Robainas’ attorney — they are still sharing one — had tried to keep the allegations of a mistress under seal in court, arguing that if the allegations became public it could “taint” the jury pool and witnesses in the case. At a February hearing, a magistrate judge couldn’t help but note that all the secrecy wasn’t being maintained for reasons of national security or trade secrets.

“We’re talking about a situation that might be embarrassing to Mr. Robaina if word got out — who knows if it’s true or not — that some [witnesses] will say … that he was apparently having an affair and wanted money delivered to him in cash because he wanted to keep it secret from his wife so he could use this money for his mistress,” Magistrate Judge Jonathan Goodman said, according to the Herald.

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Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website?s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl@talkingpointsmemo.com
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