MIAMI (AP) - Hialeah's former mayor and his wife have been released on bail after surrendering to face federal tax evasion charges.
Julio and Raiza Villacis Robaina had their initial court appearance Friday in Miami. They are expected to be arraigned next Friday on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S., filing a false tax return and making false statements to investigators.
Each charge carries a potential five-year prison sentence. Julio Robaina told reporters outside the courthouse that he and his wife are innocent.
The Robainas are accused of receiving undisclosed cash payments as interest on more than $1 million in personal loans they made to friends and associates, including a convicted Ponzi schemer.
Julio Robaina was Hialeah's mayor from 2005 to 2011 and ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Miami-Dade County.